The government announced last week that virtual witnessing of wills in England and Wales will continue to be permitted until at least 31 January 2024.

The practice was authorised under legislation introduced in 2021, under an amendment to the Wills Act 1837 (the 1837 Act), made to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendment, which was scheduled to expire this month, stated that wills must still be signed in the presence of at least two witnesses, but presence could be physical or ‘virtual’. 

The Ministry of Justice stressed that remote witnessing via video technology should always be a last resort, and physical witnessing should be used in preference where it is safe to do so. Virtual witnessing is recognised only if the quality of the sound and video is sufficient to see and hear what is happening.

Recent research found that 14% of legal professionals who had drafted wills since the amendment was made had used videoconferencing software such as Zoom or FaceTime to witness wills and  noted that lawyers using video witnessing have found it ‘a useful option’ to have. 

We can come to you, in the privacy and convenience of your own home, to discuss Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney.We can explain why they are important and suggest ways that you can put steps in place to give you peace of mind for the future. By drafting a Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney or setting up Trusts, not only will your wishes be carried out as you would like but you can also protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes. Please contact us on 01724 642 842 or by email on [email protected].