HL Deb 20 April 1972 vol 330 c182

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their policy with regard to the Justice proposals on wills.


My Lords, the Government agree with the views of the President of the Family Division and the Law Commission that three of these proposals do not merit support. The remaining proposal concerns a point already under consideration by the Law Reform Committee.


My Lords, while thanking the noble and learned Lord for that Answer, may I ask, first, whether the Committee's report does not make it clear that they are not seeking to amend the law, because the law on wills is being considered by the Law Reform Committee? But having regard to the fact that at least a quarter of all wills submitted for probate are home-made wills, does he not think that the report makes out a good case for having one properly drafted standard form of will, with sufficient explanation attached, instead of a number of different forms which can be obtained from the stationers' shops and some of which are wholly unsatisfactory?


My Lords, the proposal for a form of will was only one of the four suggestions in the report. Naturally enough, I was very much guided by the opinion of the President of the Probate Division and the Law Commission. The Law Commission found this an objectionable suggestion because, in their view, a simple form can never cover particular circumstances. The Law Commission disliked the idea and pointed out that both the instructions and the form suggested by the report of Justice itself were themselves defective, which illustrates the risk involved.