Reports on the responses to the ILM/Farrer & Co. survey of ILM members on will reforms

September 28, 2023

Joseph de Lacey of ILM corporate partner Farrer & Co reports on the responses to the ILM/Farrer & Co. survey of ILM members on will reforms


Earlier in the summer Farrer & Co held an in-person discussion forum with representatives from a number of charities to consider the questions which we had been told would be the subject of the Law Commission’s forthcoming supplementary Will Reform consultation, namely:

  • Whether Parliament should abolish the rule that marriage revokes a person’s last will; and

 

  • Whether fully electronic wills should be introduced (i.e., wills that are prepared, executed, and sometimes stored, online).

 

Following that event we produced a paper summarising some of the key points of our discussion.  ILM circulated that paper, along with a survey to members, seeking their views on the points raised.

We thought it would be helpful to review the responses to the survey:

  • There has been a relatively even split on the question of marriage revoking a will, but on balance more respondents felt that charities should lobby for a change to the rule, so that marriage does not revoke a will.

 

  • Almost all agreed that marriage practitioners should inform those intending to marry of the general rule.

 

  • There was a relatively even split regarding whether fully electronic wills should be introduced, even though all but one respondent thought that it would increase the number of wills made each year and increase accessibility to will making.

 

  • Most respondents thought there was a risk of electronic wills increasing fraud.

 

The detail of the responses will be helpful for the ILM in preparing its response to the Law Commission’s Supplementary Consultation paper, which, we gather, is on track to be released in the next couple of weeks.  We understand that there will be a 2-month response period, hence the reason for working with the ILM to release this survey over the summer.  Ducks in a row, and all that!

 

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