Wills and the virtue of being a Luddite
A recent suggestion that wills be made by text message has thrown into focus the virtues of the 180-year-old legislation which sets out the dos and don’ts of will writing: section 9 of the Wills Act 1837.
The vexing and costly consequences of getting a will wrong are a good advertisement for the services of competent will writers and solicitors. Without following the correct procedure the will maker is potentially at the mercy of rogues. Attempting to save the modest fee for a proper will, spurning tried and tested methods merely for the sake of using modern technology or in the spirit of saving labour, or in an attempt to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ could cost thousands of pounds to put right.
Modern legal advisers are not Luddites who are afraid to make use of technology; indeed we are keen to make further use of it to make us more efficient. The current law and how it may keep up with modern technology whilst maintaining its safeguards are therefore being looked at. In the meantime, potential issues could be missed if competent advice is not taken. These could relate to the medical capacity of the will maker, his or her knowledge and approval of the will, issues relating to tax or foreign assets as well as assets being gifted via methods other than the will itself. Online will transcription services and home-made wills are not adequate substitutes for taking competent legal advice.
If any of the above named issues cause a problem or a dispute, please speak to the wills, inheritance and trust disputes team for advice. This could include whether damages could be sought for negligence if incompetent legal advice has led to the problem.