Is It The End Of Video-Witnessing Wills?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wills Act 1837 was amended temporarily in order to allow Wills to be validly signed and witnessed by using video-link from January 2020 to 31st January 2024.

We discussed this in our 2020 blog Video Witnessing Of Wills Due To Be Made Legal.

There has been no suggestion that this mode of execution of Will be extended.

So, what now?

Video link Will execution may be a distant memory, and Wills will continue to be executed in the traditional manner in compliance with Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837, which provides:

“No will shall be valid unless-

(a) It is in writing and signed by the testator or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; and

(b) It appears that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will; and

(c) The signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time; and
(i) Attests and signs the will; or
(ii) Acknowledges his signature,

In the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of any other witness), but no form of attestation shall be necessary.”

Will Video-Witnessing Of Wills Be On The Cards For The Future?

At present, without further extension to the temporary amendment, all practitioners and testators must be aware that the witnessing of their Will by way of video link will no longer result in a validly executed Will for any Will witnessed after 31st January 2024.

The witnessing of Wills by video link was only seen as a temporary emergency measure due to COVID-19 lockdowns, with clients in isolation or too vulnerable to meet in person under the guidelines at that time. All of which now seems like a distant horror film!

It was also a decision of our firm that we only considered this mode of Will execution as an absolute last resort to reduce the risk of undue influence and potential claims.

We pride ourselves on providing excellent client service and prefer to always meet with our clients in person.

Read more about our Wills, Trusts and Probate services.

A Push To Move To Digital Execution?

The Law Commission is continuously reviewing all areas of law and whether it would be appropriate to consider utilising the digital world to keep up with changing times.

This will lead to more complexity within the administration process and the possibility of an increase in claims against estates.

Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever execute in your lifetime, and the importance of this should not be underestimated.

We provide a bespoke service tailored to each individual client for this very reason.

So the question is whether digitally witnessed Wills would have any benefit and whether this measure will be extended…..we shall have to wait and see.