The law governing Wills is dated 1837, yes 1837! In the Wills Act 1837, it states that a Will must be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses, who must then also sign in the presence of each other.
This has proven somewhat difficult during the pandemic due to many individuals having to isolate and shield.
The Ministry of Justice has now confirmed that they will implement temporary legislation, which will be backdated to 31st January 2020 and will remain in effect until 2022, to allow witnessing by video call.
Whilst we, at Kindred Estate Planning, recognise the importance of adapting the rules during such strange times, we want to urge clients to resort to video calling for the witnessing of Wills as a last resort.
Wills still need to be signed by the witnesses with electronic signatures not being permitted.
So, in reality, how does this work? If a person is not able to have witnesses physically present during the witnessing of their Will, then the amendment to the Act will allow for those witnesses to attend virtually.
The call will need to be recorded and the sound will need to be clear.
Additionally, the temporary change to the law may be shortened or extended at any time. It is therefore important that you are aware of the current legislation at the time of witnessing your Wills.
We understand that these new rules may be confusing and should you wish to discuss them please contact us.
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