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Wills & Probate | Witnessing Wills During Covid-19
It is not surprising that there has been an increase of Wills since the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst it is good that people are becoming more aware of the importance of Wills, there has also been a strain as it is difficult to have your Will executed and witnessed during the pandemic due to social distancing and those who are shielding.
We do not know when we go back to “normal” and whilst the law is changing to assist with those preparing Wills during the pandemic, it is as equally important to ensure the validity of the Will and those vulnerable people are not taken advantage of.
For a Will to be valid, the Wills Act 1837 requires the Will to be signed in the presence of two witnesses at the same time. Currently, it can be quite difficult to have three independent people in the same vicinity of each other especially those that are considered vulnerable (noting that those benefitting under a Will or a spouse of someone benefitting under a Will cannot be a witness, otherwise the gift will fail).
There have been many stories where people have arranged for their neighbours to witness their Will over a garden fence or through the kitchen window.
Recently, the law has changed to allow a Will to be witnessed virtually however there are many issues that have been raised following this change (as stated in a previous article) which may give rise to the validity of a Will being questioned.
It is important to take independent legal advice before executing a Will to ensure that it meets with the legal requirements.
The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal advice on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor before you embark on any course of action.
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