The requirement for signing Wills under the Wills Act 1837 is quite strict and in order for a Will to be legally valid it needs to be signed by the testator in the presence of two independent witnesses who must be present at the same time.
Unfortunately at this present time, during the Covid-19 Pandemic, no emergency laws have been passed to remove the need for two witnesses to sign your Will at the same time as you.
We appreciate that in the current circumstances it may be difficult to find two independent witnesses who are willing and able to be present at the same time when you sign your Will.
We have therefore prepared some suggestions you may wish to consider when signing your Will:
- You could ask your neighbours or friends to stand as your independent witnesses.
- We recommend wearing gloves when signing your Will and different pen from your witnesses.
- Your Will can be signed indoors or outdoors and you can comply with the Government directions and maintain social distancing measures (two meters apart) provided there is a clear line of sight when the Will is signed.
- Your witnesses can witness you signing your Will through a window or glass door and the Will can thereafter be passed through the letterbox for them to sign as well.
- As long as your witnesses can see, you could also sign your Will in your back garden, front garden, your neighbour’s garden, patio door etc.
- If you live in a block of flats your neighbours could witness you sign your Will in the communal part of the building (you can be on different floors as long as they have clear sight of you signing your Will).
- Unless you are in isolation, you can drive to your friend’s house and remain in your car to sign your Will provided that your friend and one other person (e.g. their spouse or partner) are outside their house and have clear sight of you signing your Will. You can then pass the Will through the car window or put it in the boot where your friend and one other person can sign it and leave it for you to collect thereafter.
- If you have friends helping you with essential food shopping you could ask them to stand as witnesses when delivering your next shop.
- Your postman, milkman or any deliver driver that maybe willing to witness your signature with another person provided that you maintain the social distancing measures (two meters apart).
We hope the above is helpful. In the event you are unable to find any witnesses willing and able to stand for you, please let us know and we will strive to assist you further. To contact FJG’s Wills, Life Planning & Probate team, call 01206 700113 or email [email protected].