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UK Law Firm creates first remotely executed video will during Lockdown




UK Law Firm creates first remotely executed video will during Lockdown

An innovative firm of solicitors based in Exeter has become the first law firm in the United Kingdom to prepare and execute a will electronically, in full conformity with section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. Using video technology to satisfy the necessary ‘line of sight', law firm Solicitors Title recently supervised the first completely remotely executed will for a client self-isolating in Surrey.

During Lockdown various methods had been employed by solicitors to witness signings of wills including the inconvenience of ‘drive-by' meetings and ‘through-window' signature witnessing. These measures were resorted to due to the widely held consensus of opinion in the legal profession that assumes that the Wills Act insists that a will must be executed in the physical presence of two witnesses.

Dr Nicholas Bevan, solicitor and Senior Associate at award winning Solicitors Title, decided to  test this assumption with his own research,  discovering there is no insistence on a physical presence  The crucial requirement is  there should be a ‘clear line of sight', sufficient to allow a testamentary witness to attest to the fact that the will was properly executed.  

The firm has developed a new protocol for using video technology to protect its clients who were self-isolating or shielding against any risk of exposure to Covid 19 during the entire will making process and execution.

According to Dr Bevan,  video technology is not only equal to the task of conforming with the statutory safeguards against fraud; its proper use enhances them :  a live recording of the multi-screen video conference enables any judge in the future to see first-hand every nuance and expression of the participating parties.

Dr Bevan has shared his research with the government.  Advocate General, Lord Keen of Elie, QC, responding on the government's behalf, acknowledged its conclusions as "an argument with force, set out in impressively comprehensive terms'. He goes on to indicate that the government is decided on introducing legislative reform and is considering the highly unusual step of conferring retrospective effect to its measures.

Solicitors Title's new remote wills protocol also breaks new ground by invoking a statutory right from the 1677 Act (re-enacted in 1837 and 1982) that allows a testator to direct a third party to sign a will on his behalf and meant the client did not have to come into contact with any physical object. Dr Bevan said, "The client approved a pdf of his will, supplied by email, before instructing me to sign the hard copy in his name 150 miles away in my office as my colleague watched on in the role of a testamentary witness."

The firm has just been approached by two foreign domiciled clients wanting to make a will in the UK without incurring any risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

Further details from Solicitors Title, or email:; T/: 01823 288121 or M/: 07968 427134

For press information contact Jane Adkins, A Head for PR Ltd, T/: 01935 813114; M/:07960698089 or E/:

July 2020 (ST 01)