New legislation is to be introduced in September which makes Wills executed via video link legal in England and Wales.
As set out in my previous article (Coronavirus: Wills, A Possible Change in the Law), the law on the witnessing of Wills is set out in Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. Section 9 states that in order for a Will to be validly executed it must be signed (or acknowledged) by the Testator in the presence of two independent witnesses who must then both sign the Will in the presence of the Testator and the other witness.
In these unprecedented times the Government has considered that those who are shielding and / or self-isolating may have difficulty complying with these particularly stringent formalities.
The Government has therefore announced that a temporary statutory instrument will be introduced in September which allows Wills executed over video link to be deemed legal, as long as the quality of the sound and video is sufficient to see and hear what is happening at the time.
The new legislation will apply to Wills made since 31 January 2020 (the date of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the UK) and will remain in place until 31 January 2022.
Despite the changes set out in this article we continue to remind our clients to take advice from us regarding the preparation and execution of their Wills.
If you would like to have a Will put in place then feel free to contact our Wills, Estates and Powers of Attorney Team on 01603 610911 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: the content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.