Video-Witnessed Wills: Answers to Key Questions

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Video-Witnessed Wills: Answers to Key Questions

August 12th, 2020, Legal Updates, News
Why will remote witnessing of Wills be legalised?

The Government intends to ease the process of recording people’s final wishes during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Which territories will be covered by the measure?

The Government will allow video-witnessing in England and Wales.

When will the new law be introduced?

The changes will be introduced in September. However, they will be backdated to 31 January 2020. This means that wills witnessed by video technology from 31 January 2020 onwards will be legally accepted.

What are the changes in law?

Presence as stated in the Wills Act 1837 will now include virtual presence provided the quality of the sound and the video is good enough to see and hear what is happening at the time.

How many witnesses are required? 

The vital safeguard of requiring two witnesses will be kept. This is essential to ensure protection against fraud and undue influence.

What are the potential problems?

One of the main concerns is that undue influence may be exerted by the people off-camera, as it is impossible to find out whether the is anyone else in the room while the testator is signing the will. Common problems, such as a will being lost by the post, can also occur.  There is a chance of wills being intercepted by a third party while being delivered.

How long will this measure remain in force?

The measure will remain in force until 31 January 2022 or for as long as it is necessary.

 What will happen afterwards?

The physical presence of the witnesses will be required again.

If you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact James Cohen directly on jcohen@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2257.

© 2020 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

 

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