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  • Writer's pictureKatherine

Will signing by video to be made legal

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

The Government is planning to change the law in England and Wales to make it possible for wills to be signed over video link. This means that you will be able to use apps such as ‘Zoom’ or ‘FaceTime’ (other video apps are of course available!) to sign your will.

For a will to be valid, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses at the same time, who must then sign the will in the presence of the person making the will.

However, it is hoped that the new law should make it easier for people during social distancing to get their wills signed and witnessed, where the physical presence of their witnesses is not feasible.

It anticipated that the ‘temporary’ legislation will come into force in September 2020 and will work retrospectively, so that it will also apply to wills signed and witnessed in such a way from 31 January 2020. It is also anticipated that it will cease on 31 January 2022 or “as long as deemed necessary”.

How effective the new, temporary law will be remains to be seen. If virtual witnessing is to be used, great care should be taken that the legal requirements for signing and witnessing in respect of the new guidelines are followed, to avoid potential legal challenges later on. Official guidance on making wills using video-conferencing can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-on-making-wills-using-video-conferencing Please let us know if you would like further advice on the guidelines.

Our advice, and indeed the Government’s guidance, is that wills should still be signed in person, while adhering to the guidelines on social distancing; only as a last resort should wills be signed virtually. We have found it possible, for example, to find ways to sign wills in private gardens and through open windows to ensure a safe distance is maintained, whilst enabling a ‘clear line of sight’ for both the testator and witnesses during the signing process.

Making a will and keeping your will up to date is extremely important, to ensure that your assets pass as you wish when you pass away. Please get in touch with us if you would like any advice on the new law or would like to enquire about making a will. We offer an initial, free 30 minute consultation.

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