Making a socially distanced will
- AuthorRichard Stone
There has been a 70% rise in the number of people looking for help to write and update their wills, during the coronavirus pandemic, but the current social distancing measures have made this a challenging process. Not least because UK rules, dating back some 200 years, require the physical presence of two independent witnesses, when it comes to signing your will, to make it legal. So, how can that work, given the current restrictions?
Writing a will is the easier part of the process, and our expert legal teams have been able to take instructions for new and amended wills by phone, Skype, Zoom, email, Facetime – in fact, any method that suits our clients.
But when it comes to signing and witnessing, we’ve had to be far more creative – we’ve seen examples of signing on car bonnets, or over the fence with neighbours, or even two lawyers standing outside the back patio doors. Whatever it takes, we will always go the extra mile and do the right thing for our clients – but we know that these solutions are not ideal.
That’s why, now that we seem to be over the worst of the pandemic, we are making sure that we are ready and able to welcome our clients back to our offices safely, for those times when online contact won’t quite do.
We are busy implementing a phased return of staff to our offices, and looking forward to welcoming our clients (strictly by appointment only). We want to reassure all our visitors that we have put measures in place to ensure the health and safety of both our clients and our staff by adapting our meeting rooms so that will signings can be conducted safely and with minimal contact. When you arrive, you will be shown straight through to see your lawyer in one of our meeting rooms, which are now equipped with Perspex screens and hand sanitisers, and are cleaned before and after every meeting. Once your meeting is over, our receptionist will show you out again.
So, if you’ve been putting off making or changing your will for “tomorrow, or another day”, and half of UK adults have done just that, perhaps now is the time to give us a call.
As well as writing a will, it’s also good planning to create Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs). These ensure that people you choose can make decisions on your behalf, if you’re unable to do so – not only if you become mentally incapacitated, but also if you are unable to get out and about to attend to your own financial affairs. With no LPA in place, then an application to the Court of Protection could be necessary, which is far more costly and takes many months for somebody to be appointed to manage your affairs.
Contact our expert team by emailing Richard Stone or call us now on 0800 118 1500 to find out how we can help you today.