Regulations on witnessing wills and powers of attorney need to change

Published by Sarah Mannooch on 1 April 2020

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The regulations that require independent witnesses to wills and powers of attorney need to be revised, says Sarah Mannooch.

The Coronavirus pandemic, subsequent lockdown and the requirement to self-isolate has made the requirement for independent witnesses to satisfy the regulations around wills and powers of attorney all but impossible at a time when demand has never been greater.

Sarah Mannooch, a solicitor in our Wills and Probate team said: “The Law Society and the Ministry of Justice are currently looking at ways to make this easier and will hopefully find a solution quickly.

“That may be as simple as allowing a will to be witnessed via Skype, WhatsApp or Zoom, or for a solicitor to sign a will on an individual’s behalf.

“Other proposals include wills and powers of attorney that do not need to be witnessed at all, an Australian-style approach that gives greater power to the judiciary, and extending the ‘privileged will’ concept that is used by serving military personnel.”

Sarah adds: “There has been a marked increase in disputed wills in recent years and whatever measures are introduced, care and attention will still be required to avoid costly disputes at a later date.”

If you would like to discuss Wills and Probate, contact our expert team here.

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