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What it means now the extension legislation of witnessing Wills via video-link has ended.

The legislation came into place in 2020 under S9 of the Wills Act 1837, amending it to adapt to all affected during the pandemic.

Signing and attestation of Wills

(1) No will shall be valid unless—

a) it is in writing, and signed by the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; and

b) it appears that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will; and

c) the signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time; and

d) each witness either—

I. attests and signs the will; or

II. acknowledges his signature, in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of any other witness),but no form of attestation shall be necessary.

(2) For the purposes of paragraphs (c) and (d) of subsection (1), in relation to wills made on or after 31 January 2020 and on or before 31 January [2024], “presence” includes presence by means of videoconference or other visual transmission.

Why it came in place

The extension of law welcomed witnessing wills in real time over video link, to ensure clients can still make valid wills during the pandemic, with restrictions where it is not possible to have a physical presence of witnesses, and especially to those who are vulnerable, they had the choice of physical or virtual witnessing of their wills.

It still implied that two witnesses were required to prevent influence and fraud, making sure clear sight and sound through the witnessing was shown to be made legitimate.

What it means for the future of witnessing Wills

From the 31st of January 2024, this extension will be removed from the 1837 Act. Moving forward, two or more witnesses will need to be in physical presence of the testator at the same time as each other, and by means of videoconference or other visual transmission will deem a will invalid.


S9 Wills Act 1837 – https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Will4and1Vict/7/26/section/9

Video-witnessed wills legalisation extended – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/video-witnessed-wills-legalisation-extended

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