Video-witnessed Wills


The government has announced that the temporary rules allowing video-witnessed Wills (Wills witnessed via video-link) will be extended until at least 31st January 2024.

The requirements for signing and witnessing Wills dates back to the Wills Act 1837.  This legislation provides that to be valid, a Will must be signed by the testator (the person making the Will) in the physical presence of two witnesses.

It was recognised that being in the “physical” presence of two other people during the COVID-19 pandemic has not always been possible with the lockdown, isolation and shielding rules in place.  Despite some inventive ways of signing Wills, such as a testator passing Wills through a window to witnesses, these practical difficulties were addressed by a change in the law in July 2020. The government announced that Wills could legally be witnessed remotely using video-link.  The legislation was backdated to 31st January 2020 and was to remain in place until at least 31st January 2022.  However, this has now been extended to the end of January 2024.

Whilst the extension has been welcomed, the Ministry of Justice has stressed that using virtual or video-conferencing technology should be used as a last resort and where possible, physically witnessing Wills is preferable.

In the longer term, the Will-making process and signing is to be reviewed in a forthcoming Law Commission report.

For any queries about video-witnessed Wills or to discuss making a Will in general, please contact us.

Angela Ireland is a chartered legal executive in the private client team at Barker Gotelee, Ipswich Solicitors.

Suffolk Private Client Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk