What To Expect In 2020 - for Legal Professionals

Updated: Jan 15, 2020

We left 2019 beyond frustrated with the delays at the Probate Registry (and somehow even longer delays at the Court of Protection) but hopefully, the teething problems with the application process at the Probate Registry are coming to end and the implementation of the new electronic application process has been rolled out to all legal professionals wishing to use the online application system. 

As with anything, there are conditions attached to the use of the system in that you will need to have a Pay By Account (PBA) account set up before you can apply. For more information seehttps://www.lawsociety.org.uk/news/stories/online-probate-service-for-legal-professionals/

It is worth noting that not all applications are available online yet. The Probate Registry have the simple applications available with a plan to upload the more dusty pages of Tristam & Cootes as they go.

Here's hoping that the 2019 Probate saga becomes a distant memory as we move into 2020. 

Additionally, 2020 should see the revival of the Law Commissions review of the Wills Act 1837. Is the Wills Act fit for purpose? The Law Commission reviewed the following:

  • "to enable the court to dispense with the formalities for a will where it’s clear what the deceased wanted 

  • change the test for capacity to make a will 

  • to take into account the modern understanding of conditions like dementia

  • to provide statutory guidance for doctors and other professionals conducting an assessment of whether a person has the required mental capacity 

  • to make new rules protecting those making a will from being unduly influenced by another person

  • lower the age for that a will can be made from 18 to 16."

With the increase of cases from around the world about what has been classed as a Will. The Commission also wants to seek a shift, in what form a Will can be made. 

Should we be able to make digital Wills? Is a video sufficient? Especially for "death-bed" cases. 

As the review is in the Policy development stage; keep up-to-date about when it is reported at https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/wills/

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