Virtual will signings: witnessing over video

The coronavirus pandemic has led to huge changes across every industry, and the legal profession is no different. A new law has been brought in that means wills can now legally be witnessed over video.

The Wills Act 1837 stipulates that wills must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. Clearly the coronavirus pandemic has made face-to-face meetings very difficult, particularly for the most elderly and vulnerable. At a time when having an up-to-date will is more important than ever, this change means that witnesses can now witness the will over video – as along as the sound and picture are of high enough quality.

The amendment will be introduced in September 2020 and will be backdated to 31st January 2020, meaning any wills made in this way during this time will be legally valid. It is set to be in place until at least 31 January 2022.

However, it should be noted that this method should be used as a last resort only and electronic signatures are still not permitted.

At Verisona Law, we’ve been helping people to make their wills throughout these difficult times. Where it is safe to do so in compliance with social distancing guidelines, we are able to offer appointments to visit our offices. We are also still offering online consultations, over video platforms such as Zoom and Skype. If you have a question about wills, or would like to write yours then please do get in touch with our team today connect@verisonalaw.com.


Wills

  • Will drafting
  • Review of existing Wills
  • Advice re provision for children, second families, spouses and civil partners, unmarried partners and other family members
  • Advice re charitable gifts
  • Advice re foreign and business assets
  • Advice re Will trusts
  • Codicils
  • Inheritance Tax advice

Trusts

  • Advice re Trust creation and ongoing management
  • Preparation of trust deeds and other trust documentation
  • Declarations of Trust
  • Termination of trusts

Probate and Administration of Estates

  • Advice re the terms of the Will or intestacy rules where there is no Will
  • Obtaining values for the various assets and liabilities in the estate, notifying the various institutions and obtaining all necessary estate information
  • Obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration as appropriate
  • Dealing with and advice re Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Income Tax, liaising with HMRC
  • Notifying and liaising with the beneficiaries of the estate
  • Preparing a deed of variation or a deed of disclaimer in relation to the estate
  • Selling or transferring the various assets due to the beneficiaries
  • Dealing with foreign assets and Wills
  • Advice re estate disputes and claims against an estate

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