The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced that it has temporarily legalised the witnessing of wills by video, in an update to legislation that is over 150 years old.
The amendment recognises the challenges presented by the Coronavirus crisis of witnessing wills in person due to social distancing requirements. The MoJ has backdated the implementation to 31st January 2020.
Commenting on the change, The Institute of Professional Willwriters, the membership body for wills and probate practitioners, has said
“We had been corresponding with MoJ between April and June regarding this matter and pushing for the government to relax the regulations. And whilst they indicated that the government had no plans to make any changes we are of course delighted that this change has been considered to be appropriate in all the circumstances, It will allow more testamentary freedom for clients and ensure that they are able to create effective Wills whilst in isolation or quarantine that will be recognised in law if witnessed via video conferencing.”
Here at Pembroke Will Writers we welcome the move which will enable us to provide a better service for our more vulnerable clients. We must stress however that the guidance is clear that the preferred method of will witnessing continues to be in person and where possible this should be adopted.
This might include, for example, witnessing videos at an acceptable social distance or witnessing through the window of a property, provided there is clear sight of the person signing the document.
The amendment will remain in place as long as it is deemed necessary, provisionally until 31 January 2022.
Here at Pembroke Will Writers we continue to offer telephone and video consultations as well as some home consultations provided a Covid-secure environment can be facilitated.
Speak to Pembroke Will Writers to protect your family, whatever happens. Contact Rob and the team on 01634 353 658 or email [email protected].