Rumpole is Coming of Age at the “Old Bailey”

RumpoleBritain's Law Commission has recently recommended major changes to how courts in the United Kingdom will handle estate cases.

In the U.S., laws about what constitutes a valid legal will not have changed very much since the Declaration of Independence. Most states still follow the old English law that a valid will must be signed by the testator in front of two witnesses, who must also sign the document.  If this procedure is not followed precisely, then a document is not a valid will that can be considered by a court.

However, the United Kingdom's official government legal advisors, The Law Commission, are now suggesting changes to that old way of doing things.  If the changes become effective, judges in the U.K. could look at other evidence to determine what a deceased person intended to do with his or her estate. For example, if the deceased left behind a voice mail or text message concerning the estate, then the judge could take that into consideration and use it in making a judgment.

The purpose of the old rules was mainly fraud prevention.  Judges who did not know the deceased could rely on the testimony of witnesses to establish whether the will was legitimate. So, what was the thinking behind the recommended changes? With digital technology, judges can more adequately make a determination of legitimacy without the need for witnesses.

Reference: The Telegraph (July 13, 2017) "Could a text become your will? The plans to revolutionise 'outdated' legacy system."

Suggested Key Words: Estate Law, Wills, Virginia


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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.