Due to the recent global pandemic which has led to social distancing measures causing practical challenges for both professionals and the public in relation to the execution of Wills, the Government is proposing to introduce temporary measures which are scheduled to come into effect on the 28th September 2020.
The temporary measures will allow for Wills to be video witnessed in England and Wales and will apply retrospectively to Wills already executed from the 31st January 2020 and will remain in place until 31st January 2022 or will be extended further if deemed necessary.
This proposed change will allow practitioners as well as the public to witness Wills through video technology providing they have a clear line of sight of the Testator signing the Will in actual time and the quality of the connection of the video call is sufficient to allow all parties to see and hear each other. The Government’s full guidance can be found here at this page on Gov.uk.
However whilst the measures may be useful in certain circumstances, the Government suggests that the use of video technology in executing Wills should be a last resort and the physical witnessing of Wills should still take place if it safe to do so. Since whilst temporary measures are being welcomed by some, the logistics involved in witnessing Wills may mean those acting without professional advice may make errors causing their Wills to be invalid. We would therefore advise carefully considering this option before it utilised.
For advice on making a Will or reviewing an existing Will for you or a loved one, please contact a member of our Private Client Team and we will be delighted to assist.