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Wills & Probate | Witnessing Wills Remotely
During the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, many were struggling to have their Wills witnessed particularly due to having to isolate themselves from other so much that a witness could not even witness a Will using social distancing measures.
On 28 September 2020, legislation was introduced to allow Wills to be witnessed via video and applies to Wills made between 31 January 2020 and 31 January 2022 (except where a Grant has already been issued or estate being administered).
This was an interesting change, as the condition of the presence of the witness changed to include a presence via video, i.e. the testator signs the Will in the virtual presence of two witnesses, then the Will is sent (posted, hand-delivered and so on), to the first witness, and then sent to the second witness.
Whilst this can help a lot of people who have had to self-isolate during the pandemic, it also raises a lot of concerns…
What if the testator signs the Will in front of the two witnesses (virtually), but the testator passes away before the Will is signed by either one or both witnesses? There is no validity. Is there are an argument here? Most likely.
What is the Will is damaged when travelling between various households? The testator will then need to start the process again which isn’t helpful at the best of times, but particularly would not be helpful if the testator is of ill health and there is an urgency to the Will.
Should a record be kept that the Will has been executed virtually and then passed to the witnesses? If so, how should that be recorded?
Don’t worry, I won’t set out every concern otherwise we will be here all day… but it is so important that a Will is not only prepared correctly but executed correctly to ensure validity.
If you wish to discuss preparing your Will, or have concerns about the validity of your Will, or even a family members Will, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0333 34 44 54 8.
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.
Contact me with your questions:
0207 183 4595