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Will writing the Shoreditch way?

Proposals to bring the law on wills into 21st century practice are long overdue, but an essential question has unfortunately been left outside the scope of the reform: access to legal advice, says Jean-Yves Gilg

17 July 2017

Meet Jane Smith. Jane has just made an e-will and she is about to authenticate it. At the moment, however, Jane only exists in the future.

The problem she faces at present is that ‘anyone can type “Jane Smith” into an electronic document without Jane Smith’s knowledge or involvement’. This is the sober acknowledgement the Law Commission makes in its consultation on modernising the law on wills as it considers the many obstacles to bringing will writing into the digital age.

Taking the Victorian dust off the 1837 Wills Act and making it fit for the 21st century will involve loosening some of the formality requirements essential to the validity of a will without losing the essential safety features of the...

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