Legalisation Of Video Wills Is Almost Ready
At the start of the week a Statutory Instrument (SI), was laid in the House of Commons which will enable the legalisation of the video witnessing of wills to come into force temporarily on 28 September 2020.
A SI will be back dated to cover Wills that were created from 31 January 2020 in England and Wales, remaining in place until January 2022.
However they can be shortened or extended if deemed necessary. After this point wills would return to being made with witnesses who are physically present.
In the longer term the Government will be considering wider reforms to the law on making wills and responding to a forthcoming Law Commission report. The Law Commission has been consulted in the development of the Government’s response to this issue.
A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesperson said:
“We know the pandemic has made it more difficult to make a will. That’s why we are changing the law to ensure video-witnessed wills are legally recognised.
“These changes will give peace of mind to many that their last wishes can still be recorded while maintaining all the existing safeguards against fraud or disputes.”
The MoJ issued the following guidance to remind those instructed to write a Will of what is required from them:
- Video witnessed wills maintain all existing safeguards and have the additional benefit of having recorded evidence of everything that is said or happens during the process.
- Wills still need to be signed by two witnesses who are not its beneficiaries and electronic signatures will not be permitted.
- The use of video technology should remain a last resort, and people must continue to arrange physical witnessing of wills where it is safe to do so