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The pitfalls of creating a remote will

Rules made in September 2020 that permit wills to be witnessed over video are set to continue and will run until 31 January 2024.

Many will drafters have taken instructions remotely since the start of the pandemic but there is a concern among professionals that remote wills could be disputed.

What are the risks of remote wills?

Will makers are concerned that taking instructions remotely restricts the ability for them to check that the person making the will is not subject to undue influence or fraud. This can be identified more easily when face to face, not only because the will creator is one on one with the client without outside influences, but also because it can be easier to ask sensitive questions about family relationships or more sensitive matters in person rather than via a video link. In a video link, it is easy for somebody to hide out of shot and place influence on the person making the will.

Will drafters also worry that they lack protection due to the nature of the agreement being made over video rather than in person. Lack of capacity may be more evident in person. This is particularly important for elderly clients, who are most susceptible to capacity questions yet may be more uncomfortable or unfamiliar with a video meeting than a younger client whose capacity is less likely to be questioned.

The logistics of video wills are also more complex than a physical signing. Several video meetings may be required and the will must be posted back and forth to witnesses etc. This adds risk as pages could be inserted or removed from the will before it is posted.

Avoiding a challenge to a remote will

The Law Society recommends that a remote will should be a last resort and that wills should be signed and witnessed in person as much as possible.

If a will has to be executed remotely, will makers should have strict procedures in place to minimise the risk of mistakes. The will drafter should be present at all of the video meetings.

If a testator has had to execute a will remotely, they should consider doing it physically as well once they are able to avoid any challenges. Unless absolutely necessary, making a will remotely is a risk that should be considered extensively before committing.

Complete Estate Protection are experts in advising and drafting our clients legally binding wills. We can conduct face to face will drafting sessions in our office or in your own home. Please learn more about our services here.

Alternatively, please contact us via email on or call 01642 493101.