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Virtual witnessing of Wills to be made legal

Witnessing of Wills

The virtual witnessing of wills is to be temporarily made legal to make it easier for people to record their final wishes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently in Wales and England, a Will must be signed ‘in the presence of’ at least two witnesses for it to comply with the strict witnessing requirements, defined by the Wills Act 1837. However, lockdown and social distancing measures during the pandemic have made it difficult for those self-isolating or shielding to have anyone physically present to witness the signing of a Will.

The new changes allow for witnesses to be ‘present’ by video, as an option when the physical presence of a witness is not possible. The amended law will be backdated to 31 January 2020 to cover Wills already made during the pandemic and will continue for as long as deemed necessary.

By using video technology and removing the need for witnesses to be physically present, concerns relating to possible issues such as fraud and undue influence have increased. Our Wills and Probate specialist lawyers will continue to take precautions to safeguard vulnerable clients, approaching each matter with compassion, understanding and complete transparency.

During this anxious time, it is natural to want to sort your affairs as quickly as possible. However, an invalid Will can have unintended consequences that may lead to difficulties for your loved ones. It is therefore important that you use a reputable and qualified practitioner to prepare a Will that meets your exact needs.

If you need expert legal advice or have any questions please contact Maria Cosslett via Maria is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and a Member of the Society of Estate and Trusts Practitioners (STEP) and of the Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and a Dementia Friend.

For more information please read the full press release.

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