While the process has remained relatively similar to the existing law, other than the new option to witness signatures virtually, the Ministry of Justice has provided four steps to help with clarity and consistency:
Step 1: The testator and all witnesses must have a clear view of all actions that they each make on video. For instance, the camera needs to be positioned in a way that allows for a clear line of sight of the paper being signed and not just the head and shoulders of the testator/witnesses. It is also crucial that the sound and visual quality are clear.
Step 2: Each witness must confirm that they acknowledge their role as a witness of the testator’s Will.
Step 3: Electronic signatures will not be acceptable so the original Will must be taken to each witness for signature within 24 hours or as soon as possible after the process has commenced.
Step 4: Each witness must follow step 1 using the same video technology if they are not in the same physical location as each other. Both witnesses must sign the Will before it is considered valid.
Ministers have reinforced the fact that witnessing via video should only be done as a last resort when meeting in person is either impossible or unsafe. They also remind Will makers that all signing must take place in real-time as using a pre-recorded video at any point will invalidate the process.
Should there be further developments on this topic, we will be sure to provide necessary updates.