The Government will soon revise the Wills Act 1837 in response to coronavirus. Making a will has never been more important for many. However, without expert advice, it's very easy to invalidate your will.

What will change?

Live video-conferencing for witnessing the signing of a will will soon be permitted, meaning witness don't need to be physically present.

However, this change is not without its challenges - we set out a few below:

• Live video (not recorded video) is required of both signing and witnessing.

• Carefully check camera angles. Ensure the first page and signature page are clearly visible.

• There will be an inevitable delay in the will's completion while it is delivered to your witnesses for signing.

• Your will is not valid until everyone has signed. Government guidance states that the witnesses should ideally sign within 24 hours to avoid complications.

• The will might be lost or damaged in transit.

• Two recordings are required - one for you to sign the will and the second for your witnesses, if they are together. If not, a third recording will be required.

• Electronic signatures are not permitted.

The temporary amendment is to be made in September, lasting until January 31, 2022, and will apply retrospectively. Any will (which has not already been admitted to probate) made in this way since January 31, 2020 will be valid if compliant with the legislation.

There is a risk that opportunistic beneficiaries might seek to challenge a will if this new procedure is not strictly followed. Our advice is to only use this newly permitted method as a last resort and do seek professional advice on how to follow the procedure - it is complicated!

  • Fiona Lawrence is a partner at award-winning law firm VWV, which has offices in Clarendon Road, Watford