Armed Forces: Wills

Defence written question – answered on 30th November 2011.

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Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice his Department provides to members of the armed forces based in Scotland on the drawing up of wills; and whether family members are able to be both beneficiary and executor.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) operates a system where service personnel are given the opportunity to complete a will and store it securely, free of charge. Commanding officers are instructed to ensure that all personnel entitled to make a will are urged to do so and that time is set aside in the unit programme for completion or amendment of the will by the individual. The importance of drawing up a will is emphasised during phase one training. It is made clear where legal advice can be sought either within or outside of the services.

The services also issue a will form (MOD form 106) with detailed instructions to facilitate the process. The form provides a simple, legal template for use by any service personnel regardless of service, rank, marital status or age. However, personnel are not obliged to use the MOD form and can make alternative private arrangements for drawing up a will. Throughout the year, service units are required to publish notices on routine orders reminding individuals of the importance of possessing an up-to-date will.

Since March 2011, the recording and processing of will information has been enhanced on the joint personnel administration system, giving greater assurance to the accuracy of will information held. The services' will form is currently being reviewed to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.

I can confirm that under Scottish law an individual may be both the beneficiary and executor of a family member's will.

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