Overseas Chambers of Peter Harris

Maison de la Boucterie
Rue de la Boucterie
Saint Saviour
Jersey, JE2 7ZW

Covid-19: how to write out and sign a valid olographe will in England if you are from Jersey, but also from elsewhere.

April 7th 2020

The Covid-19 outbreak has rendered the normal legal procedures in will-making practice extremely difficult.

One issue for those having contracted the virus, without a will in place  is how to ensure that their property goes to those whom they wish without it risking going into an English intestacy were they to die of the virus.

In England,  wills normally have to be witnessed within the sight of the testator, which can be incredibly difficult in case of isolation or when the testator is in intensive care.

A purely English handwritten will is only acceptable when it is witnessed correctly and is more likely than not not to be correctly drafted.

However there is an exception for those domiciled or habitually resident in a State outside England and Wales or who have a foreign nationality of such a State, if that State recognises wills written out, signed and dated by band. These are called olographe or Holographic wills. For example,; France and Germany both recognise e olographe wills.

Most civl law countries accept these handwritten wills, with which an English soplicitir may not be familiar

So individuals falling ill in England with such a connection to say for example Jersey, Guernsey, France or Germany can write out their wills by hand sign them and date them in the knowledge that such a will will be validly executed in England.

How so?  S.1 of the Wills Act 1963 reads as follows :

s. 1 General rule as to formal validity.

A will shall be treated as properly executed if its execution conformed to the internal law in force in the territory where it was executed, or in the territory where, at the time of its execution or of the testator's death, he was domiciled or had his habitual residence, or in a state of which, at either of those times, he was a national.

 

Peter Harris, a Barrister who is licensed for probate work can take someone wishing to do so through this process by Facetime, Skype, Join Us  or other means of communication.

 

If you wish to do so please contact him on +441534625879, or on his iPhone +447797831749. alternatively on peter.harris@overseaschambers.com.