The Wills Act 1837 is now 180 years old. Is it time for us to move on from the Victorian era and look again at whether this is all really working? Well the Law Commission thinks so…
So is the Last Will and Testament of the future going to be a video, a text, or a note on your Ipad?
Indeed all this is up for discussion. Some commentators are saying “Hold on a minute, how do you test whether that person had mental capacity or indeed testamentary capacity? Is this going to create a glittering Wonderland for lawyers as the level of disputes goes sky high?”
Mental capacity is a key issue. Access to will writing is another issue.
There are a thousand other things to consider as well. Other countries will be watching closely to see how radical any reforms become. Various states in Australia such as New South Wales have addressed the issue of minors under 18 being able to write a Will, so 16 year old internet entrepreneurs and others can, with Court permission, write a valid Will. I suspect that is coming here soon as well.
The Law Commission review is covering a wide variety of topics, however they are somewhat skipping over the issue of digital assets.
Digital assets include websites, music purchased online, valuable domain names, blogs, etc. This can be dealt with well by talking to a professional will writer, but some things will be a blurry area until other areas of the law (often foreign laws) become clearer.
We are optimistic that the changes will make things better and easier but much care is needed.
Meanwhile, let us agonise over the changes. Just get a valid Will in place now, it’s not that complicated….