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The Wills and Probate Team at Alderson Law is continuing to monitor whether the government will recommend relaxing the rules regarding the formalities required to make a valid will during the current coronavirus crisis. The proposals suggested by the Law Society would be temporary and include various options, all of which aim to give more flexibility than the requirements allowed under the Wills Act 1837.

In its latest official statement, the Ministry of Justice points out that this is a “delicate area of law” and that it is important to protect the elderly and vulnerable against potential fraud. They state that while there are no current plans to change the law they will “consider all options and keep this under review”.

This statement comes amidst expectations of a major overhaul of probate legislation which would enable people to make wills under social distancing rules. Several methods could be adopted to make this possible, including systems in which testators could write wills by hand without the need for witnesses, or where wills could be witnessed electronically. However, none of these options have, as yet, been put before Parliament.    

Jon Grogan Partner

So although nothing has been formally ruled out, the indication is that firms will have to continue working within the current framework. And whilst this may prove to be a missed opportunity by the government, the team here is still able to advise clients on how they can make valid wills and put their wishes into effect using the existing rules during this uncertain time.

For more information or advice please contact Jon Grogan, our contentious and non-contentious probate specialist, at jongrogan@aldersonlaw.co.uk.