The Government intends to ease the process of recording people’s final wishes during the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Government will allow video-witnessing in England and Wales.
The changes will be introduced in September. However, they will be backdated to 31 January 2020. This means that wills witnessed by video technology from 31 January 2020 onwards will be legally accepted.
Presence as stated in the Wills Act 1837 will now include virtual presence provided the quality of the sound and the video is good enough to see and hear what is happening at the time.
The vital safeguard of requiring two witnesses will be kept. This is essential to ensure protection against fraud and undue influence.
One of the main concerns is that undue influence may be exerted by the people off-camera, as it is impossible to find out whether the is anyone else in the room while the testator is signing the will. Common problems, such as a will being lost by the post, can also occur. There is a chance of wills being intercepted by a third party while being delivered.
The measure will remain in force until 31 January 2022 or for as long as it is necessary.
The physical presence of the witnesses will be required again.
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