Executing wills – the new rules: our Head of Legal quoted in Money Week

Money Week’s recent article: Making a will online in the time of Covid (article here) referenced the research and findings of Oliver Asha our Head of Legal. This article discussed the new rules around executing wills

Making a will online has been possible for well over a decade. Make a Will Online launched in 2008 and was among the first to operate in the area. This broke down the barriers to access a professional will. It’s not so easy to execute a will though. A 19th Century statute regulates the rules around executing wills.

The historic rules require two witnesses to a testator’s signature. The witnesses must be able to physically see the testator sign the will. Case law found that “seeing” did include watching through a window but did not include seeing the signature over a video call.

In light of social distancing during the current pandemic the government will release a Statutory Instrument updating this.

This SI will allow witnessing over a video call or video conference (e.g. Skype or Zoom). There are however a lot of things that can go wrong with this approach. Go to our article https://www.makeawillonline.co.uk/video-conference-execution/ sets out in more detail the steps you must take and the possible pitfalls.