Arken Incorporates Video Witnessing Into Attestation Clause

All legal sectors
11 November 2020

Arken Professional now reflects the government's temporary amendment to legislation for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, which allows for the remote witnessing of Wills via video link.

In response to the pandemic and the inability of some people to get Wills witnessed in the physical presence of witnesses, the government has passed temporary legislation stating that for the purposes of s.9 of the Wills Act 1837, “presence” can include remote presence by video link. This new rule is retrospective to the start of the pandemic this year and is to last for two years (through to January 2022).

Arken Professional has incorporated the possibility of video witnessing into its attestation clause – it must be noted, however, that the government guidelines state that remote witnessing is to be treated as a last resort – physical witnessing is to be preferred if it is possible.

With remote witnessing, all signatures must be on the same physical document (counterpart (copy) documents are not permitted) and so the Will must be posted to the remote witness(es), who must then sign in the remote presence of the testator in a second (and third) video call.

"We want to acknowledge this new temporary legislation within the Arken Professional questionnaire, and make it as easy and efficient as possible for our users to complete," explains Arken.legal's Head of Legal Content, Sam Warner. "As the scenarios below demonstrate, there can be different ways to achieve the appropriate witnessing via video link. Arken Professional is extremely intuitive and comprehensive and will only display the appropriate options as you work through each section."

In Arken Professional, the remote witnessing countenances the scenarios:

  • The Testator physically signs their Will in the physical presence of one witness and the remote presence of one witness by video link (and the first witness signs in the physical presence of the testator and the second witness signs in the remote presence of the Testator by video link)

  • The Testator physically signs their Will in the remote presence of both witnesses by the same three way video link (and then the first witness signs in the remote presence of the Testator by video link and the second witness signs in the remote presence of the Testator by video link)

  • Someone signs the Will on behalf of the Testator in the physical presence of the Testator and in the physical presence of one witness and the remote presence of one witness by video link (and the first witness signs in the physical presence of the Testator and the second witness signs in the remote presence of the Testator by video link)

  • Someone signs the Will on behalf of the Testator in the physical presence of the Testator and in the remote presence of both witnesses by the same three way video link (and then the first witness signs in the remote presence of the Testator by video link and the second witness signs in the remote presence of the Testator by video link)


If you would like to see this new addition to the attestation clause in full, please book a demo of Arken Professional via www.arken.legal.

Arken users can attend a webinar demonstration of this new feature on Wednesday, 18th November at 10.30am. Please email info@arken.legal if you would like to attend. A recording of this webinar will be made available to users afterwards.