Video Will – Belt & Braces

The fact of the human condition is that Benjamin Franklin was right.

This epistle is dedicated to those who care about the beneficiaries of their [or indeed their relatives’] estate. How so? I hear you ask, well, some are not bothered, they feel, and who are we to judge, that ‘I’d be dead, and the very definition of death is, excuse me, dead. “I’ll not know so it won’t bother me”.

You are one of those who care who will inherit your worldly goods when you are no longer of this world.

Having said that, we come to the main event, the video will.

Beyond all else, the video will has not, in English law been accepted as a bona fide will. The video will is not suggested or recommended as replacement for a traditional will. You might have come across tales of witty folk who wrote their wills on egg shells; or on the side of a cow; or on the skin of a lemon etc etc. However, history fails to record the conclusion of such cases. In any event as far as any practitioner of the law would tell you, the sure way to write a last will and testament is to have your thoughts properly laid out on paper with the assistance of a suitably qualified professional.

Securing Your Will

The Video Will is the blend of the crafts of 2 professionals – the will writer and the video maker. Needless to say, the first step would be to get the will – get it attested properly – with 2 independent witnesses. And then get your video done. The video will in fact is a more expansive form of the will – the paper will can be in truth a terse legal document in which when properly advised, one sticks to the salient points – enumerating about the people in your life and how you’d want your things to be distributed among them. The video version however, is free of those constraints, and one can talk for as long as one wishes. The cinematic recording of your will would of course be more than just your will, it would be a chance to start or continue a family legend, and has been used to discuss or reflect on ones’ life, values, and wishes.

While precedent has not made the video will an acceptable declaration of one’s testamentary dispositions, it is very useful as a coroboratory device in establishing the validity of the intentions of the person making the will. A major point on which wills are contested is that the testator – the person who made the will was of unsound mind – speaking into a camera, with references to the date such as a copy of that day’s newspaper, in the presence of a legal executive – by definition, someone in whose interest it is to keep things on the straight and narrow tend to go some way to show that the person was of sound mind.

Just imagine how often wills get ‘lost’, well it would be very difficult for a video will to get lost, if the video company keeps a copy of the recording – hiring the local thug to break into the production firms premises wouldn’t work, these things tend to have redundant back up as an essential feature.

The video will, while not on its own, be guaranteed to be acceptable in the courts, would go a long way to show that the will in its original paper form was valid and that the testator was of sound mind.

The video will is a clear case of the abundance of caution, or as my grandmother used to say, ‘belt and braces’ approach.

What to read next: Dormant Assets

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