Execution of Wills in Current Climate

I previously refer to articles about the suggestion that there are changes to the requirements for witnessing the wills, but as of this moment the requirements remain as they always have.

One may take the instructions for the wills remotely, as we often do. However the main purpose having drafted the will, is getting the will properly signed, and unfortunately this hurdle is much harder to overcome.

We have had various people raise queries with us these past few days, asking is it sufficient to witness a testator signing their will via skype or other means of video calling.

We regret to say the answer to this is NO.

To be valid a will must meet all the requirements of the Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. Amongst those requirements is the need for the testator (the person making the will) to sign or acknowledge their signature in the presence of at least two witnesses, together at the same time. It is also valid for someone else to sign on the testators behalf, but again this must be done not just at the testators direction, but in the presence of the witnesses.

The problem word is ‘presence’. The law commission looked at this issue in it’s consultation papers ‘making a will’ in 2017, and confirmed that, as the law currently stands, the witnesses must be physically present.

It may be possible at some point in the future, we will see the law adapt to allow remote witnessing and e signatures on wills, but at this moment in time we can only act in accordance to the current established law.

There are various practical solutions to deal with this, and should we draft your will or be requested to do so, we can explain when the draft becomes an engrossment and is sent to you.

If we can be of assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

Tel: 01684 291469

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