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Remember a Charity says proposed overhaul of wills ‘critical’ to legacy giving

14 Jul 2017 News

Remember a Charity has welcomed the announcement by the Law Commission that it has launched a consultation to overhaul current laws around wills, saying it could be “critical” for legacy giving in the UK.

The Law Commission announced yesterday that it was launching a consultation to “overhaul” the “outdated law of wills”. The Commission said that an estimated 40 per cent of adults dying each year do so without a will and that “Victorian laws, out of step with the modern world, are failing to protect the vulnerable” and “could be putting people off writing one”.

Alongside the consultation launch, the Commission put forward a number of proposals to alter the law around wills, including softening the “strict formality rules, adding a new mental capacity test which takes into account the modern understanding of conditions like dementia” and potential lowering the age for making a will from 18 to 16.

Rob Cope, director of Remember a Charity, welcomed the proposals and said they represented a “critical step forward for legacy giving”.

“When you consider that hundreds of thousands of people in the UK die intestate each year, leaving no clear guidelines as to how any assets should be divided among their family, friends and good causes, it is long overdue that the will-writing process is made more accessible, helping ensuring that people’s final wishes will be met.

“If the legal sector succeeds in making it easier for people to write a will, while putting adequate safeguards in place for the public and minimising the opportunity for contested wills, this could be a critical step forward for legacy giving. 

“Ultimately, the more people that write a will, the greater the potential for including a charitable donation. Even if just a small percentage of people who die intestate were to leave a gift in their will, this could help close the gap between those that have the desire to give through wills (35 per cent) and the 6 per cent of people that leave a charitable legacy. This could potentially raise millions for good causes each year.”

The Law Commission’s open public consultation on wills launched yesterday and will run until 10 November 2017. 

 

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