Making a Will via video technology – an update

Jan 15, 2021

You may have read our blog last year about the Government’s plans to introduce temporary measures to accommodate the remote witnessing of Wills.

The Wills Act of 1837 requires two witness signatures to be made in the presence of the person making a Will, also known as the testator, for it to be valid in England and Wales. Until recently, the Will would have to be witnessed in the physical presence of the testator. This could obviously be problematic during the Covid19 pandemic for those self-isolating shielding.

New rules came into effect on 28 September 2020 and these amended the Wills Act of 1837 by stating that the two witnesses can be present by means of a video conference or other visual transmission.  This amendment applies where a Will is made between 31 January 2020 and 31 January 2022.  As with the current law, the vital safeguards requiring two witnesses will be maintained, to protect people against undue influence and fraud.

The Government has also issued guidance on how witnessing a will via video technology would work in practice. In summary, this would involve the testator clearly showing the document on camera before signing it in clear sight of the witnesses watching via video link. The document would then be sent to the witnesses and the process repeated in clear sight of the testator. Any video call should also be recorded and retained to assist courts in the future, should any dispute regarding the Will arise.

It remains our view and that of most credible commentators that witnessing through technology should remain a last resort. Unless signing in the physical presence of witnesses would be impossible in the current circumstances, signing via video technology should not be used. Wills could instead be witnessed at a permitted social distance, through a window, or at the offices of legal professionals who may be able to accommodate face-to-face meetings.

We predict, and are seeing that, current circumstances are also likely to lead to a sense of urgency to decision making for those that do not have a Will and particularly those whose affairs are too complex to rush.

Some individuals have taken to making their own Wills without taking proper legal advice and may not have done so correctly, which could lead to challenges with respect to the testator’s intentions or the validity of the Will, because of uncertainty surrounding the circumstances of its creation. There is no guarantee that these are validly executed Wills and these make-do arrangements are likely to result in an upturn in Will disputes for various reasons. The full fall-out from decisions during the pandemic will, of course, start to unfold in the coming years.

We will continue to monitor these changes and ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place in order that you and your loved ones receive the care and peace of mind that you need.

If you require any information on making a Will, click here to visit our Wills web page.

Or if you would like to speak to a member of our Private Wealth & Inheritance team, please do call +44 (01276) 686222.

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide.  It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.

Contact us

    The information you submit will be handled in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Sign up

    Enter your email address for legal updates on Private Client & Family Law.

    Please see our privacy policy regarding use of your data.

    Make a will online

    If you would like to start the process of making a will. Fill in our will questionnaire and submit the form by email to our specialist team. We can then create a will tailored for you from the details you provide. 

    Latest Articles

    Top Legal Insights


    Contract Law

    Material Breach of Contract

    What is a ‘material’ breach of contract by a party to a commercial contract? This is a critical issue regularly considered by the courts. What constitutes a material breach and what are the remedies?

    Property Law

    Commercial Lease: The Financial impact on Landlord and Tenant

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the restrictions now in place to control its spread, are having a significant effect on many business sectors.

    Divorce and Family Law

    Divorce in Lockdown: Can I get some discreet legal advice?

    We have spoken to clients who are unfortunately experiencing some family issues, and would like to obtain expert legal advice, yet don’t know how...

    Land & Property Dispute

    Restrictive Covenants – The Price of Modification

    Having identified that your land is burdened by a restrictive covenant and for the purposes of this article the covenant in question will be that only one residential building can be erected on the land. What do you do next?

    Wills, Trusts and Probate

    Why is having a will so important?

    It is entirely up to you if and when you want to create a Will, but it is important to be aware of the consequences of not having a Will.

    Award winning legal advice

    We are solicitors in Camberley, Wokingham and London. In 2019, Herrington Carmichael won ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ at the Thames Valley Business Magazines Property Awards, ‘Best Medium Sized Business’ at the Surrey Heath Business Awards and we were named IR Global’s ‘Member of the Year’. We are ranked as a Leading Firm 2020 by Legal 500 and Alistair McArthur is ranked in Chambers 2020.


    60 St Martins Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4JS 

    +44 (0) 203 755 0557



    Building 2  Watchmoor Park, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey  GU15 3YL

    +44 (0)1276 686 222


    Wokingham (Appointment only)

    4 The Courtyard, Denmark Street, Wokingham, Berkshire RG40 2AZ

    +44 (0)118 977 4045


    © 2020 Herrington Carmichael LLP. Registered in England and Wales company number OC322293.

    Herrington Carmichael LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

    Privacy   |   Legal Notices, T&Cs, Complaints Resolution   |   Cookies   |   Client Feedback