In these unprecedented and uncertain times, delaying drafting a Will is inadvisable. However, of primary importance is following government guidance on social distancing.
To address this, we are very happy to discuss via telephone or video conferencing in order to take instructions on the drafting of your will.
Another difficulty arises in the signing of a new Will.
For a Will to be valid the testator must sign the Will in the presence of two independent witnesses who are present at the same time. This causes a particular difficulty whilst maintaining social distancing. Witnessing over skype/facetime is not permissible under English law. However the Law Society for Scotland has issued emergency guidance permitting the witnessing of wills by video-conference. The Law Society of England has approached the Ministry of Justice to discuss potential emergency legislative amendments to the requirements for witnessing Wills, which might include the use of video-conferencing or reducing the requirement for two witnesses but as yet, no announcements have yet been made.
Witnessing a Will from a safe distance, provided that the witnesses are in line of sight is considered to be acceptable under old case law and we suggest that for now, this is the preferred way forward.
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