Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
Registration of Wills
The possible establishment of such a register has been suggested on a number of occasions, including in a number of Private Members Bills. Consultations with a number of stakeholders, including the Law Society, have however, identified a number of important practical and legal obstacles to establishing such a mechanism.
In the first instance, registration of a will would not guarantee its validity. For example, under Part VII of the Succession Act 1965, there are statutory requirements regarding the signing and witnessing of a will. The mere registration of the existence of the will would not prove that the will had been properly executed, or that the testator had sufficient capacity, or not been subject to undue influence or duress.
Secondly, a register could not guarantee or offer conclusive proof that a registered will was the last will of the testator because a new will could have been made by the testator at any time before a testator dies. The most a register could do would be to confirm that a particular will had been registered on a particular day. Such a register would not confer any priority over later wills if they were not registered, nor would it provide any guarantee that a registered will had not been revoked or replaced by a later will.