In 2020, the Government made it legal to witness Wills virtually in England and Wales for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.
This meant that Wills which are witnessed via video link using platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime will be recognised as legal in England and Wales.
However, Northern Ireland has its own legal system and this new legislation does not apply to Wills prepared here.
As we enter a new period of enhanced lockdown, it is important to remember you must sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses, who must then also sign it in your presence – so all three people ‘should be in the room together when each one signs.’
If the Will is signed incorrectly, it will not be valid. It is very important to make sure that beneficiaries of the Will (or their spouses or civil partners) and your executor(so not act as witnesses, or they will lose their right to the inheritance.
Obviously during the restrictions imposed by the pandemic – three people in one room together could pose problems. There are alternative options such as signing the Will outside (weather dependent) or in a large well ventilated room with the appropriate PPE.
Your solicitor can advise you on how best to have your Will signed during the pandemic. Please do not let the ongoing situation hold you back from reviewing, updating or preparing your Will at this time.