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Witnessing of wills by video legalised

27th July 2020

From September, wills witnessed over video-conferencing platforms will be legally valid, the Government announced on Saturday 25 July.

At present, the law says a will must be made in the physical presence of at least two witnesses.

As a result, social distancing and isolation measures put in place to tackle the coronavirus pandemic have made it difficult to amend wills legally.

In recent months, some have taken the initiative to have wills witnessed using platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet, in the hope that, if tested in court, this would be deemed valid.

Though the new law won't come into effect until the autumn, the Government has said it will be backdated to apply to any will made from 31 January 2020, when the first coronavirus case was documented in the UK.

Official guidance will continue to insist that the use of video technology should be a last resort with physical witnessing of wills considered preferable, as long as it is safe to do so.

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said:

"The Government's decision to allow wills to be witnessed remotely for the next two years will help alleviate the difficulties that some members of the public have encountered when making wills during the pandemic."

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