Biggest change to law relating to Wills for 200 years

The Public will be able to use video platforms like Zoom or Skype to sign wills in the virtual presence of two witnesses under hugely important legal changes and the legislation is retrospective to 31 January 2020 and is in place until 31 January 2022.

The legislation recognises that:

  • An increasing number of people have sought to make wills during the Covid 19 pandemic, but for people shielding or self-isolating it is extremely challenging to follow the normal legalities of making a will – namely it being witnessed by two people.
  • In response to this The law (the Wills Act 1837) will be amended to state that whilst this legislation is in force, the ‘presence’ of those making and witnessing wills includes a virtual presence, via video-link, as an alternative to physical presence.

The legislation will apply to wills made since 31 January 2020, the date of the first registered Covid-19 case in England and Wales, except:

  • cases where a Grant of Probate has already been issued in respect of the deceased person
  • the application is already in the process of being administered

The legislation will apply to wills made up to two years from when the legislation comes into force (so until 31 January 2022), however this can be shortened or extended if deemed necessary, in line with the approach adopted for other coronavirus legislative measures. The advice remains that where people can make wills in the conventional way they should continue to do so.

If you require any guidance on the new legislation, or how it applies to you or your family, you can contact our team at info@btmk.co.uk or by telephone on 03300 585 222 (24/7) or by live chat through our website at www.btmk.co.uk

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