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Virtual Witnessing of a Will
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Private Client solicitors have widely reported a significant increase in Will-making enquiries during the Covid-19 pandemic. However lockdown measures presented a number of challenges particularly with regard to the valid execution of Wills.
For a Will or Codicil to be valid the signing formalities must be carefully adhered to as set out in Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 which states:
- The Will must be in writing and signed by the person making the Will (known as the ‘testator’) or by some other person in his presence and by his direction.
- The testator intended by his signature to give effect to the Will.
- The signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the time (underline added for emphasis)
- Each witness either:
- attests and signs the Will; or
- acknowledges his signature in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of any other witnesses)
Accordingly in order for a Will to be validly executed the testator’s signature must be made or acknowledged in front of at least two witnesses who must be ‘present’. The...
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