Signing of Wills to be witnessed by Video calls

3 August 2020 David Robinson View all News

Video calls are to become a legal way of witnessing the signing of a will in England and Wales, due to the covid-19 pandemic.

A will is the only way to ensure your money and assets go to the people you care about when you pass away.

 

Who must be present to witness the signing of a will?

Ordinarily, when implementing a new will, it must be signed by you in the presence of two independent witnesses (over the age of 18) who must also sign it in your presence. Therefore, ordinarily all three people need to be in the same room together. However, covid-19 has made this difficult for some due social distancing and shielding measures in place.

 

Wills to be witnessed by video

To resolve this issue, the Government have announced they are legalising the remote witnessing of wills via video call, making it easier for people to record their wishes during the coronavirus pandemic.

These reforms will be backdated to 31st January 2020 and will remain in place until 31st January 2022. However, the Government have stated that this can be shortened or extended as thought necessary.

 

Current law for witnessing the signing of wills

The current law already allows for wills to be witnessed remotely providing the witness has a “clear line of sight” (i.e. through a window), but the new rules will allow greater flexibility when witnessing a will. However, guidance issued by Government is that physical witnessing remains the preferred approach, with the use of video calls as the last resort.

There will be changes to existing laws to reflect the new measures, which are expected to be in place in September.

The Government website contains more guidance on witnessing wills via video link.

 

Our Private Client team are an experienced team of tax and legally qualified advisers, who are dedicated to looking after your personal and business interests.  If you would like to discuss your will, then our Private Client team would be happy to help.  Begin your journey will us today and see how our Private Client team can help create the best possible future for you.

 

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