Will law should be brought into ‘modern world’

A will document

The law around wills should be updated and brought into the “modern world”, the Law Commission for England and Wales has said.

The current rules were “unclear” and could be putting people off from making a will, it added.

It is considering whether texts, emails and other electronic communications should be recognised as a valid will in exceptional circumstances.

The commission has launched a consultation on the proposals.


Currently, for a will to be legally valid it must be voluntarily written by someone who is 18 or over and of sound mind and be signed in front of two witnesses who are also both over 18 and must also both sign the will in your presence.

But the commission wants to change the existing formality rules where the will-maker has made clear their intentions in another form.

It gives the example where a car crash victim has not made a formal will but has expressed their intentions in electronic or other messages, such as a text or email.

The family could then apply to a court to have those communications recognised as a formal will.

These messages could only then be recognised as a will if a judge approved.

What happens if there is no will?

  • If someone dies without a will, rules dictate how their money, property or possessions should be allocated, and potentially not in the way the deceased would have wished
  • Unmarried partners and partners who have not registered a civil partnership cannot inherit from each other unless there is a will
  • If there are no surviving relatives who can inherit under the rules of intestacy, the estate passes to the Crown
  • Specific rules can vary across the United Kingdom

Source: Citizens Advice

The Law Commission acknowledged the proposals on electronic communications could cause family arguments or worse.

It said the plans could provide a “treasure trove for dissatisfied relatives” and lead to a “variety of avenues by which probate could become both expensive and contentious”.

But it said on balance it believed they should be recognised by the courts, noting that 40% of people currently die without making a will.

Law Commissioner, Professor Nick Hopkins, said making a will should be “straightforward” but the law was “unclear and outdated”.

“Even when it’s obvious what someone wanted, if they haven’t followed the strict rules, courts can’t act on it.

“And conditions which affect decision-making – like dementia – aren’t properly accounted for in the law.

“That’s not right and we want an overhaul to bring the law into the modern world.

“Our provisional proposals will not only clarify things legally, but will also help to give greater effect to people’s last wishes.”



North Texas lawmakers will introduce two bathroom bills in special session

The Texas bathroom bill has been arguably the most controversial bill introduced during Texas' 2017 Legislative Session, drawing reaction from protesters, politicians, business leaders and celebrities.  Keep going to see what you need to know about previous versions of the proposed law.  Photo: Sara D. Davis, Stringer / 2016 Getty Images

AUSTIN — After a brief respite, the bathroom wars are heating up again.

Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, is expected to introduce two bills in the upcoming special session of the Texas Legislature that would regulate which public bathrooms transgender Texans, including schoolchildren, can use.

WHAT THEY SAID: GOP Board of Ed members sound off on special session

The first bill, which will closely resemble his bill that failed during the regular session, will be a broad attempt to prohibit cities, counties and public school districts from enforcing non-discrimination ordinances involving multi-occupancy restrooms or locker rooms.

It is expected to allow exceptions for people already protected under state and federal anti-discrimination laws, which do not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

Simmons’ bill would effectively invalidate local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender people to use public restrooms that match their gender identity, as well as school district policies that make accommodations for transgender students.

The path for Texas to enact its version of a North Carolina-style bathroom bill is poised to get far tougher as the Republican-controlled state House closes in on a key midnight Thursday deadline to approve legislation.

Media: WochIt Media

That proposal, House Bill 2899, had 79 co-sponsors, all Republicans, before lawmakers left Austin in late May. A bill needs to win a simple majority, or 76 votes, on the House floor to pass.

BACKLASH: Paxton leads 35-state coalition over internet speed advertisements

A second proposal Simmons plans to introduce would apply only to public school districts.

Simmons’s intentions were first reported by The Dallas Morning News, and he did not respond to the Houston Chronicle’s request for comment.

This month, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a special session to begin July 18, calling lawmakers back to Austin for at least one month to tackle 20 items he said were not addressed to his satisfaction during the 140-day regular legislative session, which ended in May. Reauthorizing the Texas Medical Board and a handful of other agencies, which could close if lawmakers do not approve their continuation, topped Abbott’s list.

He also listed “privacy” as one of the topics, saying that “at a minimum” he wants a bill that applies to the use of bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools. In the regular session, Abbott praised Simmons’ bill


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26 Ingenious Products That Will Literally Light Up Your Life

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[Source:- Buzzfeed]