The Government has announced that the remote witnessing of Wills is to be legalised, making it easier for people to record their final wishes during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, the law states that a Will must be made ‘in the presence of’ at least two witnesses. However, while isolating or shielding some people have understandably turned to video link software as a solution, for example via Zoom or FaceTime.
Today (25 July), the Government has confirmed that, from September when the new legislation will come into effect, Wills witnessed in such a way will 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.
This move maintains the vital safeguard of requiring two witnesses – protecting people against undue influence and fraud.
Ed Lorman, Estate Tax and Asset Protection, Beavis Morgan 360, comments: “We have seen a surge in enquiries over the past few months and I’m delighted with these new measures that will help overcome another obstacle, enabling people to get done what they absolutely should – don’t put it off.”
The new measures will be backdated to 31 January 2020, the date of the first confirmed coronavirus case in the UK. This means that any Will witnessed by video technology from that date onwards will be legally accepted.
The change will remain in place until 31 January 2022, or as long as deemed necessary, after which Wills must return to being made with witnesses who are physically present.
For information on drawing up a Will, speak to a member of our Estate Tax and Asset Protection team who are available to assist with:
- Company & Personal Wills
- Estate Planning
- Business Property Relief
- Inheritance Tax
- Bloodline Planning
- Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Business Succession