Witnessing a will signing during lockdown – what can be done?
Since the coronavirus pandemic swept across the UK, lawyers have reported a huge rise in the demand for wills.
However, the introduction of strict social distancing rules, means that it is now more difficult to sign a will in front of two independent witnesses and have two people sign it in your presence. If not done correctly, a judge may rule the document invalid.
The new rules have led to people witnessing signatures over the garden fence or watching through a window as their neighbour signs on their doorstep, with many solicitors supervising from a safe distance.
The Law Society has called for a change to the law, such as allowing the use of video conferencing in the signing process. But the Ministry of Justice has said there are no plans to change the rules currently with a spokesperson saying to the BBC:
“This is a delicate area of law and we absolutely must continue to protect the elderly and vulnerable against potential fraud. We will consider all options and keep this under review during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Lucy Wood, partner, B P Collins said:
“Anyone thinking of writing a will is being urged to seek professional advice, as there is a risk of online, do-it-yourself wills being unlawful and invalid. We are successfully creating wills for our clients after meeting with them via video conference calls and are issuing clear guidance on how to correctly sign your will while the social distancing rules are in place.”
For further information please contact our private client team on 01753 889995 or email