Can you virtually sign a Will?
Yes, you can witness a Will being signed virtually via video as an alternative to physically witnessing it. However, this is only allowed for Wills made between 31st January 2020 and 31st January 2024. This means that after 31st January 2024, any Will made must be physically signed and witnessed under the normal rules. This rule also applies to Codicils too which is a document that amends a Will.
As a result of Covid, many people started making Wills but due to lockdown restrictions, it was almost impossible for people to physically witness Wills being signed. So, the government introduced a new law
allowing the virtual signing of a Will. After 31st January 2024, the old rules will fall back into place, but this could all change if the government decides to continue allowing remote Will signing.
Virtual Will signing is ideal for many as it means that people are not restricted to having to be in the same location, making it easier and more accessible.
How do you witness a Will signature via video call?
Wills can be witnessed using any video conferencing software such as Zoom or Teams and can be done on any device. The only thing that truly matters is that the person making the Will and the two witnesses have a clear view and that the video is in real-time and not pre-recorded for example.
An example declaration when witnessing a Will signature remotely could include the following:
‘I [first name], [surname], wish to make a will of my own free will and sign it here before these witnesses, who are witnessing me doing this remotely’.
It’s a good idea to record the remote witnessing and signing just in case the validity of the Will is questioned later down the line.
The Will should be held up to the camera so that witnesses can verify that it is indeed the Will in question. Then, the Will maker will turn to the page that needs to be signed and will physically sign the Will in front of the witnesses watching on camera. The Will maker may need to show their ID on the video call to prove it is them if the witnesses don’t know them.
Once the Will has been signed by the maker, it must be then given to the witnesses within 24 hours to sign and the process is repeated via video call.
Can electronic signatures be used for Wills?
No, electronic signatures are not allowed when making a Will because of the risks of undue influence or fraud against the person making the Will. If the Will is signed under undue influence or fraudulently or there are suspicions that it has been, it will be found to be invalid and therefore cannot be used. However, The Law Commission has started a project to assess whether electronic signatures could be used in future.
How can GloverPriest help?
At GloverPriest, we provide friendly and transparent legal advice. If you would like further advice on a Will, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert lawyers today. Complete our enquiry form