|In September 2020, the government allowed Wills to be witnessed via a live video facility. With the ongoing Covid situation, the ruling has been extended until 2024.
Under the ‘1837 Wills Act,’ two witnesses signatures are required in the physical presence of the Testator (the person making the Will). With people shielding, social distancing and self-isolating, it proved very difficult for Testators, witnesses and any professional third parties to physically meet. Furthermore, the Covid situation greatly increased the public’s demand for Wills – hence the introduction of the September 2020 ruling.
According to the Law Society, around 14% of legal professionals involved in Will making have utilised live video facilities such as ‘Face Time,’ ‘Zoom’ and ‘Teams’ for Will witnessing purposes and almost 60% of these are said to find it a positive experience. Naturally, this doesn’t take into account all the Estate Management firm and practitioners who have also been utilising such facilities.
The extension, which is in place until January 31st 2024, is also to give the ‘Law Commission’ time to consider reforms to the law around Wills; it might well be that the video witnessing becomes a permanent option.
Whilst live video represents a more convenient form of Will witnessing for both busy people as well as the vulnerable and elderly, there are certain stipulations in place. The video must be done in ‘real time’ and a recording made of the whole process. You must be able to clearly hear and see the witnesses and – as per the original Will making Law the two witnesses must not be beneficiaries.
To find out more about producing your Will and the option of video Will witnessing call 01785 336222