To cater for the digital age, electronic wills could be made acceptable to make the process more accessible, but just how wise is it to simplify the process?
Over 50% of people in the UK do not have a will, which means that over 31 million Britons risk dying without leaving instructions on what they would like to happen to their estate. The Law Commission has been considering softening the rules on wills in order to make the process easier for those that are yet to write a will. Rulings on electronic wills may be introduced to allow texts, emails or voice messages to be taken into consideration by courts.
Making Wills More Accessible
The idea behind allowing digital communications to be taken into account is that quite often a person’s wishes are made clear, however they may not have followed the strict will procedures, meaning that pieces of evidence are discounted from the ruling. By moving towards a more relaxed set of rules, it could attract more people to think about estate planning and prompt them to formalise their arrangements.
Could Digital Wills Cause Problems?
While having more people think about their wills is undoubtedly a good thing, “easier” wills do pose some problems. The first is that people’s wishes may not be sufficiently expressed, and important or complex points could be simplified as a result. Wills are extremely important documents, and there is a risk that they could become trivialised, almost. At present, rules and regulations surrounding wills are very clear and rigid, so a relaxing of the rules could lead to more legal disputes and grievances. The number of contested wills is increasing, and this could rise even further.
The Independent has more on the proposals to make wills more accessible.