The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): The formal requirement for a valid Will to be witnessed in the presence of two witnesses is to be relaxed (with retrospective effect) to include both physical and virtual presence, to allow Wills to be validly witnessed by way of video conference. For the latest guidance on this temporary change, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Wills.
As announced on 17 April 2020, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, authorised District Probate registrars to allow statements of truth to be used in place of affidavits for non-contentious probate applications and processes during the coronavirus pandemic. The relevant rules which are affected by the guidance are: Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987, SI 1987/2024, rr 12(1), 16, 19, 25(2), 26, 32(2), 44(12), 46(2), 46(4), 47(4), 47(6), 48(2)(a), 50(2), 51, 52, 53, 54(3) and 55(2). The guidance was due to expire on 30 July 2020, however it has been extended to 30 October 2020 due to the ‘continuing challenges facing courts and practitioners in making paper-based probate applications in the coronavirus pandemic’. As noted below, these measures are to come into effect permanently from 2 November 2020. See: LNB News 23/07/2020 55 and LNB News 17/04/2020 92. For updates on key developments and related practical guidance on the implications of coronavirus for practitioners, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Private Client—overview and Coronavirus (COVID-19) toolkit.
FORTHCOMING CHANGE: With effect
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