Video-witnessed wills become legal in England and Wales

Tax Comments Off on Video-witnessed wills become legal in England and Wales

The witnessing of wills over video-conferencing platforms in England and Wales has been temporarily legalised, the Government has confirmed.

The law still requires a will to be made “in the presence of” at least two witnesses to be legally valid, while the use of video should be a last resort.

However, some people have understandably turned to platforms such as FaceTime or Zoom while self-isolating or shielding during COVID-19 to get their affairs in order.

The new law is backdated to apply to any will made from 31 January 2020, as long as the sound and video is sufficient to see and hear what happened at the time, and will remain in place until 31 January 2022.

The Government hopes this will help alleviate the difficulties some people have encountered when making wills during the pandemic.

Robert Buckland, justice secretary, said:

“Our measures will give peace of mind to many that their last wishes can still be recorded during this challenging time, while continuing to protect the elderly and vulnerable.”

Wills witnessed through windows are already considered legitimate in case law as long as the witness has clear sight of the person signing it.

Get in touch for estate planning advice.