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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK enacted a temporary measure permitting video witnessing of Wills. However, the law has not been extended, meaning Wills must be witnessed in person from 31st January 2024.

It is no surprise that the government has confirmed that there will be no further extensions to the legislation that allowed video witnessing of Wills during national lockdowns.

The law – the Wills Act 1873 – requires an independent witness to be present during the signing of a legal Will, and the in-person requirement is vital for preventing potential fraud and mitigating risks to vulnerable individuals or those lacking sufficient capacity.

In a statement to the House of Commons on February 1st, Justice Mike Freer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, highlighted the rationale behind the decision: “The Government is announcing today that it is not extending the legislation it introduced as a special measure during the Covid-19 pandemic to permit remote (video) witnessing of wills.”

“This temporary legislation was a response to the practical difficulties of having wills witnessed whilst restrictions on movement to limit the spread of the virus were in force, and at a time when more people wanted to make wills. The Government has always provided guidance that video-witnessing wills should be regarded as a last resort due to increased risks of formalities not being properly followed or risk of undue influence”.

This provision protects the public and ensures Wills are executed responsibly, and therefore will be fully welcomed in law firms across the UK.

Making a Will and Life Planning

Planning and taking some small legal steps now can make an enormous difference in the future to safeguard you and your family. Our Life Planning team specialises in helping our clients cope with the present and plan for the future. The team will get to know you and look at your requirements while advising you on all legal formalities needed for a will to be valid. We can help you with:

If you have more questions or need some advice on how to write a will, you can contact us using the form on our website or by calling your local office.