Will reforms need to “get the balance right”

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A charity consortium has said that there are merits to proposals to overhaul legislation relating to Wills, but insisted that appropriate safeguards need to be put in place.

Remember a Charity was responding to proposals drawn up by the Law Commission and recently put out to consultation.

In a submission to the legal body, the consortium said that the idea of introducing electronic Wills had its merits but any change in the law needed to include measures to minimise the risk of disputes.

Rob Cope, Director of Remember a Charity, said: “If the legal profession gets the balance right, this overhaul of Will-writing could be crucial for growing charitable legacies.

“But we need to be mindful that relaxing the laws around what makes a Will legally valid could create uncertainty and increase the scope for legacy disputes. This means having more accessible, regulated Will-writing opportunities, while ensuring appropriate checks are in place to test mental capacity and protect against undue influence.

“With contested Wills on the rise, charities are keen to avoid the emotional, financial and reputational costs associated with inheritance disputes, defending donors’ wishes and their own legal obligation for funds allocated to them. We are keen to ensure that the new system provides greater protection for the public and minimises the scope for conflict between charities and any other potential recipients.”

For advice on making or updating a Will, please contact our head of Private Client Richard Denton (rdenton@ogrstockdenton.com) or visit our website.

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