Regulations on witnessing wills and powers of attorney need to change
The regulations that require independent witnesses to wills and powers of attorney need to be revised, says Gemma Spencer.
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.
Gemma Spencer, Partner and Joint Head of Legal 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.”
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