The legislation for video and remote witnessing of wills has been extended for two more years until the 31st of January 2024, giving vulnerable people peace of mind that their wills will be legally recognised.
The initial change had been brought in at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for those who had to isolate either from COVID or from another vulnerability.
It was announced yesterday that the legislation will continue to reassure all those who need to use this provision and guarantee that their final wishes are legally recognised.
Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab said: “This is a common-sense measure that will give vulnerable people peace of mind that their wills are recognised if they are forced to have them witnessed via video due to isolation.”
Under the 1837 Wills Act, for a will to be legal, witnesses had to be physically present. Wills still need to be signed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries and electronic signatures are not permitted, but witnesses’ presence can now be either physical or virtual.
The use of video technology is not necessarily the most recommended option, so people should continue to arrange physical witnessing of wills where and when it is safe to do so. Wills witnessed through windows have already been considered legitimate the last few years given that the person signing it can be seen clearly.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “Those who have used video witnessing have told the Law Society it has been a useful option to have: to help vulnerable people set their affairs in order when making a will in the physical presence of witnesses is not possible.’’
Our solicitors can help you write a will via telephone, email, and Skype video calling. We can give you advice, share documents via email and make amendments to existing wills.
We want to assure you that DMA Law will continue to provide exceptional levels of service virtually and physically. If you want to make or amend your will, please contact us via our contact form or by calling your local DMA Law office.