There is a lot of misleading information going around about the interpretation of the rules surrounding GDPR, and like a lot of professions, professional Will Writers, have neither been considered by Brussels when the Act was first drafted and from what I have seen and heard the people, being employed as professionals, to advise us are no wiser as to how we work and the size of the majority of our organisations.
I have, over the past two weeks done little other than lobby everyone I know, and some I don’t know to get a definitive answer as to whether we would find ourselves in deep water (there is another phrase I could have used) but taking everything that has been told to me, including information from the ICO, as long as we are following the spirit of the Act, that is not misleading the public or using data we have on file we will be OK.
The main issue is “do we have to tell beneficiaries that they are mentioned in Mrs. Miggins Will?” The answer is no, we don’t, it would be a breach of client confidentiality, which would be a direct breach of the current data protection rules. And as anyone with even a modicum of common sense can see we cannot comply with both. As it always has been, writing to beneficiaries in a marketing capacity is absolutely forbidden, that can never change.
Failing to inform beneficiaries that they are named in a Will is not doing them harm, but it would cause harm and distress to the testator if we were to.
So, I believe strongly the message is, carry on as usual with regards to taking instructions and drafting the documents, make sure your systems are safe and that data is protected and carry out whatever checks you need to before the deadline and we should have no problems in the future.
Brian W McMillan
The Society of Will Writers