Video-witnessed wills

27 Jul 2020 | Jan Atkinson

Over the weekend the government announced plans to introduce legislation that will allow wills to be witnessed remotely via video.  The provisions are to be backdated to 31 January 2020 and remain in place ‘as long as necessary’.

Current rules relating to the execution of wills are contained in the Wills Act 1837 which (amongst other requirements) provides for wills to be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses.  The Covid pandemic and social distancing requirements have created difficulty in complying with this provision, especially for those who are shielding.  The new rules will certainly assist those who are unable to arrange for two independent witnesses to be physically present when signing their will.

This is a significant change in the law relating to the execution of wills, and clear guidance will be needed to ensure there is certainty as to how video witnessing will work and be evidenced in practice, as well as ensuring that vulnerable testators are not being subjected to undue influence or duress.  Interestingly, the guidance indicates that video witnessing should only be used as a last resort. So for now, I would recommend that testators continue to sign their wills in the presence of two independent witnesses where it is possible and safe to do so.  Where this is not possible, having a specialist wills solicitor involved in the video witnessing process would be advisable.

Osbornes is an award winning London law firm with a reputation for providing outstanding legal advice to all clients across all of the firm’s departments. The firm is recognised by ‘The Times’ in the ‘Best Law Firm Guide’ 2020.

For a free confidential discussion with our teams call 020 7485 8811.

Share this article


Contact us today

For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811

Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you

    More from JanVIEW ALL

    1. 17.9.2021

      Funding of Probate disputes

      Probate disputes can be very expensive and clients often find it difficult to find the money to cover their legal...

      Read more
    2. 13.9.2021

      Worldwide Probate Dispute

      The deceased died in Ireland leaving very considerable wealth and assets all over the world, including England, but without leaving...

      Read more
    3. 13.9.2021

      Ad Colligenda Grant

      This is an estate administration where our client has been appointed by the court to administer the estate but is...

      Read more
    4. 13.9.2021

      Dispute with an estate worth £2m

      Osbornes Law were appointed independent administrator in this contentious probate dispute, with an estate worth around £2m. The deceased was...

      Read more
    5. 13.9.2021

      Contentious Probate Claim Regarding £21.5million Estate

      The death of one of the shareholders of a family run business, and the contentious probate claim regarding his £21.5million...

      Read more
    6. 13.9.2021

      Controversy over validity of the will

      Our client is the executor and one of three residuary beneficiaries of the estate of her late uncle. The will...

      Read more