The coronavirus pandemic highlighted a problem with the signing process for a Will, which has remained unchanged for over 180 years. Current legislation requires both the person making a Will (called the Testator) and their two witnesses to be in each other’s physical presence when all the parties sign the Will for it to be validly executed.
The need for social distancing and self-isolation during the pandemic, for some people for long periods of time, has led to the Government addressing how a Testator can arrange for a witnessing of a Will while socially distancing.
Signing a Will Using a Live Video Link
The Government is introducing temporary legislation which will enable Testators to sign a Will via video-witnessing. These measures will come into effect in September and will be backdated to 31 January 2020 and will remain in place for two years – until 31 January 2022 – or, “for as long as it is necessary”.
The advice is that people, where possible, should continue to sign their Wills in the traditional way, provided it is safe to do so, including using “distanced witnessing”. For ways this can be done whilst socially distancing, click here.
Where this is not possible, the temporary legislation now allows video link to witness a Will signing, provided guidelines set out by the Government are followed carefully. If not carefully adhered to, there is a risk that the Will has not been validly executed and if the Testator dies, the Will will not be effective.
NSS Legal are on hand to guide you through the Will signing process and discuss the options available in your circumstances, including how to use a video link to witness a Will. Please contact us on 020 8209 1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.