Witnessing Wills on Video Becomes Legal

August 3, 2020, By

Witnessing wills on video means that a person’s last wishes can be made clear and secured. This means they can rest assured that, whatever they are going through at the moment, the people closest to them are looked after in the will.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Government announced that remotely witnessing wills on video is to be made legal.

The new advancement in law reflects the huge adaptation as a nation that we underwent during lockdown to help protect our assets and loved ones.

When we first went in to lockdown and our offices closed, we managed clients over the phone and offered to get signatures and witnesses at a safe distance where it was possible. We spoke with clients through new technology and video software, many of us for the first time, while maintaining our high standards of client care.

Back in April, we recommended signing Lasting Power of Attorney documentation over video to ensure that nobody else was present or coercing someone into signing.

So, what does the legalisation of witnessing wills on video mean for people and their assets?

Protection of your assets

There are many stages in our lives when we consider writing or updating our will, but the onset of a global pandemic brought a reality to many of us. Our wills & probate team has been busy all the way through this crisis, helping people to plan their estates, and executing the wishes of others.

Remotely witnessing wills on video

In this change to the law, people can record their final wishes throughout the Coronavirus crisis, no matter what the reason is that they can’t do it face-to-face.

Two people must still be present, whether in a virtual or face-to-face situation, to ensure that people are protected against undue influence and fraud.

Remote witnessing and its legality will be backdated to 31st January 2020. This means that anything from this date onwards done via video will be legally accepted. As it stands, this will be in place until 31st January 2022, after which, witnessing wills will require a physical presence of two witnesses.

Use a reputable solicitor

Video calls have brought us closer to our families, colleagues and friends when we weren’t able to see them face-to-face. We then built up a level of trust for the person on the screen in front of us.

We want you to feel comfortable talking to our will writing specialists, and do all that we can to guide you through the process in a manner that is reassuring, friendly and thorough.

Please be aware, however, that just as there are ‘DIY will kits’ that people often use and get caught out with, there is likely to be some ‘cheap options’ out there offering a video witnessing service which may not be the most reputable of organisations.

When you write your will with a respected solicitors, you know that it will be done thoroughly because we are a regulated industry and have lots of standards to adhere to. Additionally, we are rated very highly on Review Solicitors, a third party review site, by our clients. In fact, our firm is ranked number one in Manchester, should you require further peace of mind.

A format to suit you

This new law states that the use of video technology should remain a last resort. Where physical witnessing can take place safely, it should be done.

Witnessing wills through windows is a legitimate approach, as there is still a physical presence, so long as they can see the person signing it.

Whether you are writing and having your will witnessed in person or digitally, we would highly recommend having a chat with our team first to see what solution we can provide for you.

Call us on 0161 969 3131 or request a call or email back here.