Families can now continue to take advantage of virtual technology to witness wills - Walker Foster Solicitors Families can now continue to take advantage of virtual technology to witness wills - Walker Foster Solicitors

Families can now continue to take advantage of virtual technology to witness wills

A recent relaxation in the laws around the virtual witnessing of wills looks set to become a permanent change.

Witnesses perform a vital role in making sure that a will is valid. Traditionally, the law requires that two people (who won’t benefit from the will) witness the will in person. That has been the case for the last 185 years, since the original Wills Act was passed in 1837. 

As a firm, we still believe that in-person witnessing is the safest and best method, which is why we currently only do it that way.

However that law is now likely to be permanently reformed, with witnesses able to use FaceTime, Skype or Zoom to witness a will if there is no other viable option available.

A sign of the times

With so many of us self-isolating, shielding or suffering from the COVID-19 virus, it has become increasingly difficult for many people to witness wills in person. Since the restrictions began, lawyers have been using all kinds of methods to comply with the law, including having witnesses view the signing of the will through a window. 

In order to make witnessing easier under lockdown, the rules were relaxed to allow for the witnessing of wills using video conferencing technology. That was initially a temporary move – but it now looks likely to become a more permanent change. The rule relaxation has been extended to 2024 in the first instance. 

Supporting an increasing awareness of the need for wills

Encouragingly, people are now increasingly aware of the need to have an up to date and accurate will, with more and more people requesting this service. This is a welcome trend and this relaxation of the rules should only encourage that to continue.

To discover more about the support we provide around wills, probate and lasting powers of attorney, use the button below:

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This article must not be construed as legal advice. All cases are different on their facts and you should consult with us directly on your case.