Wills: Registration

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 17th July 2020.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of making it a legal necessity to register wills similar to those requirements adopted by other countries.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

There is no statutory requirement for will registration, but is it possible to deposit a will with HM Courts and Tribunals Service, and commercial will registration services are available.

The imposition of a legal requirement to register wills may have a deterrent effect in terms of people making wills and lead to an increase in invalidated wills and contentious probate cases. The Law Commission analysed this issue in their 2017 consultation paper on the law of wills, and concluded that ‘the disadvantages of such a system would far outweigh its benefits’.

The Government has no plans to reform this area of law at present.

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