Distance Wills

Broomhead & Saul lead the field, nationally, in the use of online video conferencing technology to protect the elderly and COVID -19 vulnerable will makers from this deadly virus.

What is a distance will?

A Distance Will (also known as a ~Video Will) is a term used to describe a different way of completing (or executing) your Will.  It enables you to sign your Will in the safety and privacy of your home and to use the internet to arrange for the witnessing formalities to be undertaken remotely by our staff using video conferencing technology.

It has never been easier, safer or simpler to make a Will in complete privacy.

Daring to differ

Until recently, the well-established and uniform view of the legal profession (including the Law Society and the highly esteemed Law Commission) was that the Wills Act 1837 insists on a will being signed by the testator in the physical presence of two witnesses.

Discussions with the government had floundered after the Law Society’s proposals to suspend the need for witnesses completely was rejected; rightly so in our view, because that would have exposed vulnerable individuals to fraud and undue influence.

Dr Nicholas Bevan, senior associate solicitor at Broomhead & Saul and its associated firm Solictors Title LLP, undertook his own research.  His detailed paper exposed serious flaws in an influential Law Commission report that had wrongly cited three cases as purportedly supporting the establishment view that the term ‘presence’ insists on a witness’ physical proximity.  Our research identified that the case authorities actually require something more practical: simply that ‘presence’ should afford a ‘clear line of sight’.

Daring to act

Broomhead & Saul were the first firm in the country to execute a Distance Will for a self-isolating client on 1 May 2020, sparing our client the distress, risk and inconvenience of travelling to our offices during the lockdown.

Reforming the law

We then instituted a highly successful snap law reform campaign, run in association with Solicitors Title LLP. Our letter to the Justice Secretary was complimented in gracious terms by Lord Keen QC on behalf of the government.  The government then issued Guidance based on our research and recommendations.  The Wills Act 1837 (Electronic Communications) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 gives formal effect to this for a two year period backdated to 31 January 2020.

This represents the most significant reform to the law on Wills since the Statute of Frauds 1677.

How much does it cost?

We charge  £570 plus VAT for preparing and executing a standard professional Distance Will, undertaken remotely from the safety of your home, using our unique video witnessing service.*

To make an appointment to discuss your needs, please contact:

Taunton Office: 01823 288121

Contact: Dr Nicholas Bevan

or email nicholas.bevan@broomhead-saul.co.uk