Jersey wills can now be signed and witnessed via video link during pandemic

Thursday, 23 April 2020
The Jersey government has introduced emergency legislation temporarily relaxing the formal requirement for two witnesses to be physically present when a will is signed.

Witnessing can now be completed by audio-video communication instead of in person, enabling people in hospital, care homes, and isolation to execute a new will without breaching social distancing rules.

The amendment was included in regulations presented to the States (Jersey's parliament) on 22 April. It notes that the change is due to the fact that legal witnesses executing legal documents at this time 'will be presenting a public health risk by placing themselves near to others outside their family unit.'

However, it also insists that, if remote witnessing is used, the lawyers concerned will have to take steps to assure that any client who makes a legal document is not under duress and has appropriate mental capacity. Unless extended, the legislation will expire on 30 September 2020.

Victoria Grogan TEP, Wills and Probate Manager at law firm Ogier's Jersey office, comments that the move will ensure that clients will not be exposed to any increased risks when simply looking to put their affairs in order.

A growing number of clients wish to make a new will or updating their existing will under current lockdown arrangements, she said, adding, 'We welcome this common sense introduction of temporary legislation which will help provide peace of mind for clients.'

Sources

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