As part of the Law Commission’s consultation on the laws around making a will, there will be a free public event held in Bangor

The Law Commission has recently published a consultation paper, Making a Will. The law of wills affects us all and the Commission is keen to hear views from across society – from members of the public, doctors, care workers, and civic groups, as well as members of the legal community.

The law in England and Wales that governs wills is, in large, a product of the 19th century: the main statute is the Wills Act 1837 which The Law Commission believes needs modernising. With an estimated 40% of adults dying each year without a will, it’s also thought that the existing laws could be putting people off writing one. That means there is no guarantee that estates are distributed as the deceased intended.

The Law Commission proposes:

Giving the court power to recognise a will in cases where the formality rules haven’t been followed but the will-maker has made clear their intentions.

An overhaul of the rules protecting those making a will from being unduly influenced by another person.

Applying the test of capacity in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to the question of whether a person has the capacity to make a will.

Providing statutory guidance for doctors and other professionals conducting an assessment of whether a person has the required mental capacity to make a will.

Giving the Lord Chancellor power to make provision for electronic wills.

Lowering the age at which people are able to make a will from 18 to 16 years old.

Law Commissioner Professor Nick Hopkins said: “Making a will and passing on your possessions after you’ve died should be straight-forward. But the law is unclear, outdated and could even be putting people off altogether. Even when it’s obvious what someone wanted, if they haven’t followed the strict rules, courts can’t act on it. And conditions which affect decision-making – like dementia – aren’t properly accounted for in the law.”

Professor Nick Hopkins and the project team will set out their proposals for change and ask for local people’s views to help form their final recommendations to government.

There are 3 public events, one in each of Bangor, Southport and Eastbourne.

The event in Bangor will be held at the Main University Building, Bangor University, College Road, Bangor, LL57 2DG on 9th October 2017, 5.30pm-7pm

Welsh translation will be available. There is no charge for this event.

If you wish to attend, please respond by email by no later than 2 October 2017 to Damien Bruneau at: damien.bruneau@lawcommission.gsi.gov.uk.