Ministers have confirmed they are considering making changes to probate legislation, but stress the ongoing need to balance social distancing rules with protecting elderly people from fraudsters.

Speaking to parliament, junior justice minister Alex Chalk said: “The constraints of the Covid-19 situation must be balanced against the important safeguards in the law to protect elderly and vulnerable people, in particular against undue influence and fraud. Having two independent witnesses provides safeguards to those making wills.”

Responding to a written question, Mr Chalk appeared to reject the idea of extending the use of privileged wills, by which members of the armed forces can draw up a will rapidly in situations when normal procedures are not practical. He added the current civil situation “did not equate to” military realities.

The government is, however, considering the use of technology and the witnessing of documents by video-conference, the Law Society Gazette reports.

Meanwhile, the Law Society has stated that it is committed to working with the Ministry of Justice to find a workable solution and will continue to offer practical guidance and support to solicitors about how best to adhere to the current legislation in challenging times.