The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in an amendment to the formalities that must be adhered to when it comes to signing wills. This was on the back of the difficulties faced with witnessing wills ‘in person’ and of meetings being conducted using electronic mediums such as Skype or Zoom.
The old rules governing the witnessing of wills are contained in the Wills Act 1837. These rules require that the person making the will must sign their will in the presence of two witnesses. On 25 July 2020, new legislation was introduced to amend the need for there to be physical presence of the witnesses, allowing for them to be ‘remote’ (i.e. on a video call).
The current deadline for the remote attestation of wills and codicils has been set at 31 January 2022. After this date, unless the provisions are extended by the government, wills will need to be signed in the physical presence of the testator and their witnesses.
As we see life slowly returning to the ‘new normal’, the removal of the remote witnessing powers will lead to more clients needing to return to face to face meetings.
We are still, of course, ready and willing to meet with clients via videocall and we can provide detailed signing instructions if you choose to sign your will away from one of our offices, for those who have concerns over returning to face-to-face meetings in our offices.
When attending our office for meetings, we operate strict Covid-19 safety measures to keep you and our staff safe at all times.
Whilst the social restrictions have created new challenges to executing a will, the Covid-19 pandemic has made making a will more important than ever.