Would you want to tweet your will rather than have it written out and signed? How about a will made by text message, video recording or Facebook post?
The Law Commission has begun a public consultation on how wills are made and what the law does to protect against fraud. The law surrounding wills is one of the oldest and remains relatively unchanged since the Wills Act 1837. So, as we race through the digital age, is now the time for a change?
There are strict rules on how wills must be signed for them to be valid. With some exceptions, all wills must be in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses, who themselves must sign the will. The presence of witnesses is crucial should there be queries after death regarding the circumstances of the signing as they may be able to provide vital evidence.
Solicitors have concerns about what safeguards would be put in place to guarantee the integrity of an electronic will? For example, how can you assure that an electronic will has not been hacked or made by someone else?
Also, it is not possible for a person under 18 to make a will. Should that be reduced to 16 as some suggest?
The current system may not be perfect and a discussion about how making wills can be improved is to be welcomed. But signing a professionally-drafted will helps to safeguard your wishes. With the benefit of professional advice and preparation a solicitor can ensure your wishes are properly detailed and, crucially, ensure that the document is valid.