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Making A Will Whilst Following Social Distancing

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The current “lockdown” situation has a number of people asking whether they can still make Wills whilst adhering to social distancing rules.

The answer here is yes, but you may need to get creative.

Although it is something that many may put on the back burner during times of crisis, you may equally be concerned about getting your affairs in order.

Everyone needs a Will to ensure that their wishes are carried out upon their death and most law firms are still here and open for business, albeit, with some changes.

Whilst discussing Wills is usually done face to face, it is also a process that can begin over the telephone. Draft Wills can then be sent to you via email or post and followed up by a further phone call, meaning everything can be done remotely.

In simple terms, most Wills can be arranged from the safety of your own home.

There are a number of requirements which have to be met in order for a Will to be valid, which haven’t changed. Traditionally, the Will must:

  • be in writing,
  • must be signed by you – the person making the Will,
  • or by some other person in your presence and under your instructions
  • it must give the appearance that you intended by your signature to give effect to the Wil,
  • your signature must be made in the presence of two witnesses. Each witness must also sign the Will in acknowledgement of your signature and this must be done in your presence.

Although The Law Society is pressing the Government to make temporary changes to the requirements for signing Wills, such as allowing Skype or Facetime recordings of Wills being signed, there is no sign of this being agreed and so it is important to sign Wills in the traditional way.

There are a number of ways in which Wills can be signed and witnessed without breaking Covid-19 restrictions.

For instance, you could sign your Will at your window whilst the witnesses stand outside of the window, at least two metres apart of course, and then the witnesses can go on to sign.

You could also sign your Will over your fence, whether that is over the front garden fence or the back garden fence.

When signing your Will, it would also be sensible for you and your witnesses to use your own pens and perhaps wear disposable gloves, meaning that there is no need for actual skin to skin contact.

The key thing to remember is, if the Will is signed by all parties and all parties can see each other signing, then the Will signing process has been followed.

It is also important to remember that the signing of Wills virtually via videoing has not been accepted as a valid method of signing, so we would urge you not to do this, as your Wills may not be deemed valid.

Talk to your solicitor or feel free to call us for a free initial discussion.

Marta Crumbie

Posted:

Marta Crumbie

Solicitor

Marta qualified as a Solicitor in September 2020 and works within the Private Client team at our office in Kettering. She has over four years experience advising clients on Wills including Trust Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney and more recently dealing with probate and estate…