COVID-19 Update: Tozers is providing our usual client services while maintaining the safety of our clients and colleagues. Full update here

Complete the form below to ask us a question or make an enquiry. We’ll get back to you via phone or email as soon as possible.

Insights

Can Wills be witnessed virtually?

Posted on 22nd July 2020 in Probate & Wills

Posted by

Gráinne Staunton

Partner and Solicitor
Can Wills be witnessed virtually?

During lockdown we have all had to adapt our ‘normal’ way of doing things to deal with the changes. The same has been true of the process of witnessing Wills, with many of our colleagues having to help act as witnesses through windows, in gardens and even in drive-by meetings.

It is the Wills Act 1837 which governs the formal, legal steps needed to ensure that a Will is valid. Generally, this requires two witnesses to watch the Will-maker sign the Will and then to sign the document themselves ‘in the presence’ of the Will-maker.

As the Act is around 183 years old, it is unsurprising that the Victorians did not anticipate how it is now possible to be in someone’s ‘presence’ virtually, through Skype or Zoom.

So, is a Will witnessed over Skype valid? The answer so far has been no, for those of us in England and Wales. Scotland, on the other hand, has dealt with things differently.

But a recent Telegraph article now suggests that all this may be about to change for England and Wales, too. So, is it right that the Ministry of Justice will allow Wills to be witnessed remotely during lockdown? As a firm we are always keeping up to date with the most recent changes in law, and with the recent 'Wills through a window' to help during lockdown, we will be sure to keep updated on the changes to virtual witnessing.

 

If you need any help or advice with your current Will, or are looking to put one in place and would like to talk to one of our dedicated team, then please visit our specialist Wills hub page or contact a member of the team.

Contact the team

Company & Industry

Related Insights

Insights

Do pensions count as assets when dealing with a divorce?

Posted on 22nd October 2020 in Family Law

Whether retirement is imminent or even some way off, pensions are still taken into consideration when dealing with assets on divorce, and can actually often be the largest asset to consider. Irrespective of who the pension belongs to, it is still an asset about which a court can make orders on divorce. This applies both ways, meaning each spouse will have a ‘claim’ against the other’s pension provision.

Posted by

Aimee Aspinall

Chartered Legal Executive
Insights

Unclaimed estates totalling £1.744bn from those without Wills

Posted on 02nd October 2020 in Probate & Wills

It has been reported by a north-east property developer that there are approximately 7,991 estates currently left unclaimed in England and Wales. The total value of which is estimated at £1.744bn, equating to £218,300 per estate. They report that the majority of these estates have been left by single people who have not made a Will.

Posted by

Sue Halfyard

Associate and Chartered Legal Executive