The Law Commission welcomes the publication of Supported Will-Making: A Socio-Legal Study of Experiences, Values, and Potential in Supporting Testamentary Capacity by Professor Rosie Harding, Dr Ezgi Taşcıoğlu and Magdalena Furgalska.
Professor Harding’s research team conducted empirical research of the experiences of intellectually disabled people when making wills. Finding a gap in support for people with intellectual disabilities who nevertheless potentially have capacity to make a will, they outlined and evaluated potential options for reform, including of a formal nominated supporter scheme.
This work aligns with the Commission’s proposals from the 2017 Consultation Paper, Making a Will, in which we consulted on the introduction of a scheme for supported will-making. We envisioned that a supported will-making scheme would apply when someone is capable of understanding what is necessary to make a will, but needs support in order to do so.
Law Commissioner Nick Hopkins said:
“We are extremely grateful to Professor Rosie Harding, Dr Ezgi Taşcıoğlu and Magdalena Furgalska for their research. We welcome their report, which provides important insights into the experiences of people with intellectually disabilities in making wills.
“Their research provides an invaluable evidence-base to the Commission in assessing a potential scheme for supported will-making and determining how a scheme could work.”
Next steps on the wills project
We launched our public consultation on reforming the law of wills on 13 July 2017. The consultation period closed on 10 November 2017 and we have been analysing the responses we received and developing our final policy. The remaining stages of our work will be to complete our analysis and policy formulation, to prepare a final report and to instruct Parliamentary Counsel to draft a bill that would give effect to our recommendations.
The timetable for the wills project is being reviewed as the Government has asked the Commission to consider the law relating to how and where couples can be married. Further announcements will be made once Terms of Reference for the weddings project are settled with Government.