The government is considering changes to probate legislation to allow people to make wills under social distancing rules.

Among the options under discussion are an Australian-style approach which would give judges more flexibility when deciding what constitutes a will; a European-style system where testators could write wills by hand without witnesses; and a process where wills could be witnessed electronically.

However, according to a report published in the Law Society Gazette, ministers remain undecided over which option, if any, to put before Parliament.

It is expected that any changes to probate legislation will apply to all wills made since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and will be time limited. The Law Society of Scotland is, as a temporary measure, allowing lawyers to act as witnesses via video conference, so long as they have not been appointed as an executor. Canada has also changed its rules to allow wills to be witnessed remotely.

Individual law firms meanwhile are being increasingly creative in their approach to wills, taking social distancing into account while the documents are signed, for example.