Q: I would like to draft a Will, but I live alone and am shielding at home due to the Covid-19 restrictions. I know I have to sign my Will in front of witnesses for it to be valid, but as I am not in a position to attend an office or meet with friends or neighbours to assist, is there any other way of doing it?
A: As you rightly say, for a Will to be valid, the person making the Will needs to sign their wet signature in the presence of two witnesses who are not named in the Will. There are some exceptions to this rule, for example if someone is unable to sign they can make a mark instead, or if someone is unable to read they can have their Will read out to them and signed on their behalf at their instruction.
Due to the Corona Virus outbreak, the government stated in July that it was making changes to legalise remote witnessing of Wills. The change to the legislation, which came into force in September, advises that although two witnesses are still required to witness a Will, their presence can be either physical or virtual. Guidance suggests that the use of video technology should, however, only be used as a last resort, and people should continue to arrange physical witnessing of Wills where it is safe to do so.
The new legislation applies to wills made between 31 January 2020 and 31 January 2022, with provision for an extension to the two years if the COVID situation deems it necessary. As the new rules regarding signing a Will rely heavily on technology, it is important that all parties signing are familiar with video technology and have good internet connections. You may want to speak with your solicitor in more detail to see how your needs can be accommodated.
This question has been answered by Ulia Choudhry, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, some of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
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Part of our Probate, Wills, Tax and Trusts team in Wrexham
Part of our Probate, Wills, Tax and Trusts team in Oswestry.