Signing Online? Is This Legal?

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Yes!  It is, we have seen a surge in demand over this pandemic for Wills to be completed and early into this difficult situation, the government recognized the need for change.

So, what are the current requirements?

At present we are still required to adhere to s9 of the Wills Act 1837. You read that right, 1837, this is a law passed over 184 years ago. This requires several factors to be followed but in brief for signing the Will must be signed by the Testator and in presence of two witnesses who in turn sign. So far, this sounds quite straight forward. However, over the years’ case law has confirmed the tests: 

  • Testamentary Capacity
  • Line of sight test
  • Acknowledgment and attestation 
  • Revocation 
  • Undue Pressure

The new legislation is to be applied to allow Video witnessing of Wills! This is a temporary measure but we here at MJR Solicitors are hoping this becomes a permanent feature utilising these modern methods seems like a natural progression to us and we welcome intuitive ways of utilizing technology to make ourselves more available to help our clients.

Under this new Law pre-recorded is not permissible which seems common sense to us, you need to see the person signing the Will and in turn, they must be able to see you signing. Here at MJR Solicitors, we will be recording the whole video interaction to assist the Court at a later date should the matter ever be contested, not this to us brings up interesting issues. Why not allow more videos? Why not video attendances in offices? In years gone by it was all paper and pens, but these days in this modern era should we have to write everything down? Surely a recording is enough, what do you need from that meeting? Well, you need to know what was discussed. So, what is better than a clear video recording? We welcome the day when firms are pushed into the 21st century, we love new technologies and portals we can use to keep our customers updated, hopefully, this becomes standard throughout the legal industry.

So, what is involved in this online signing?

Let’s, keep it simple.

  1. The person making the Will is online with his/her two witnesses and everyone should be able to see each other. You could all be in different places.
  2. The person making the Will should sign and the witnesses should be able to see him sign i.e. watch the person pen making the mark on the Will. 
  3. Make sure the witnesses know the person making the Will is the correct person.
  4. The Will should then be taken (posted if needed) to the witnesses.
  5. The witnesses should follow steps 1 and 2 above. (i.e. all see each other sign)

The Will is only valid once the final signature is completed. There are some further minor rules and regulations but to keep it brief, that’s what we need to do. Here at MJR Solicitors, we are more than happy to undertake this process with you. We want you to have a valid Will and we know how this needs to be done and can guarantee our work.

Other Questions?

What about Electronic signatures? Simply. No!  not allowed. For various reasons that were put forward, this was decided against.

Contact us today. We can help in various ways and via various methods of online interaction with which we can help, these being facetime, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp video, Facebook Video, or any other media you may wish to do.

For more information on our policies and procedures or to arrange an appointment, contact us online or by phone today for an initial free consultation:

mark@mjrsolicitors.co.uk
info@mjrsolicitors.co.uk
01243 945054

Mark Riley

Mark Riley is a specialist lawyer offering services including Wills, Estates Administration and Tax planning. Mark has studied around the world, including a few years in Australia. Whilst there he met many amazing and inspirational lawyers. He worked with a small boutique family firm, who’s approach was so laid back and friendly it “felt right”. He decided to bring that approach home where he hopes to continue with this ethos.
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