Video-Witnessing Wills

Ministry of Justice written statement – made at on 1 February 2024.

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Photo of Lord Bellamy Lord Bellamy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

"The Government is announcing today that it is not extending the legislation it introduced as a special measure during the Covid-19 pandemic to permit remote (video) witnessing of wills.

“The legislation was originally introduced in September 2020, amending the Wills Act 1837 so the normal requirement that two people must witness the testator signing to make their will in person could be extended to include remote witnessing by video-link. The Government and professional bodies published guidance on the steps that should be taken where wills were video-witnessed.

“This temporary legislation was a response to the practical difficulties of having wills witnessed whilst restrictions on movement to limit the spread of the virus were in force, and at a time when more people wanted to make wills. The Government has always provided guidance that video-witnessing wills should be regarded as a last resort due to increased risks of formalities not being properly followed or risk of undue influence”.

“The Government decided to extend the temporary legislation for a further two years in February 2022. At the time the United Kingdom had only recently ended a further set of restrictions and there were concerns about further strains of the virus.

“However, the special circumstances which applied when this measure was put in place no longer apply. In-person witnessing of wills is no longer subject to restrictions. As such we have decided not to extend the temporary legislation beyond 31 January 2024.”