Legal advice from Ian Sydenham, Private Client Partner based at FDR Law’s office in Warrington
Q: What is an Electronic Will?
A: At the moment Electronic Wills are not valid, but they have been in the news recently as The Law Commission put forward a proposal in July 2017 to possibly introduce them as a document recognised by the courts.
If this goes ahead, England and Wales would be the first jurisdiction in the world to allow this method of making a Will
The Law Commission’s aim is to make it easier for people to make a Will, and address the fact that the current process puts off many people as it is seen as complicated and expensive. Latest figures indicate that 40% people die without a Will (intestate) and that can have a financial and emotional impact on families as well as potentially requiring expensive and time consuming Court action to resolve.
There is no timescale at this stage for when (or even if) Electronic Wills could become a reality. There are many questions and issues still to be addressed in order to make this viable including security, infrastructure, consistent implementation and the flexibility in the law for Electronic Wills to develop.
We would urge people not to wait for the possibility of Electronic Wills as this proposal could take years to come to fruition. Instead we recommend not being put off by perceived difficulties but to speak to a specialist lawyer who will be able to answer any questions you may have, and who will be experienced in making the process of writing a Will as easy as possible.