Facilitating Will writing and signing during the Covid-19 lockdown

By Lenore Rice

The Coronavirus crisis has focussed our minds on the people and things that are important in our life, and the safeguards that we have to ensure that they are protected and provided for in any eventuality.

Our Will writing solicitors have seen a significant increase in the number of people enquiring about either writing their first Will or amending an existing Will, with the most common question being 'Can I write and sign a Will during the current government restrictions?'. The lockdown and in particular the guidelines on social distancing have required innovation and determination from us all, and the same is equally true of our Will writing team.

At the early stages of the Coronavirus outbreak a crisis team was created, with some of our Will writing solicitors self-isolating and working from home, and a smaller group spread across our large office space to facilitate Will signing and execution. For a Will to be valid it needs to be signed  by the person making it in the presence of two witnesses over the age of 18, who should not be related to the person or be a named beneficiary of their Will.

We offer various services to take instructions and verify the client.  Thereafter we have endeavoured to overcome the execution challenges by accommodating our clients as follows:

 

  1. Home Visits; two members of the team travel in separate cars to the client's home.  The team will be wearing gloves and face masks and interact with the clients (typically in their garden area) maintaining a safe distance at all times and ensuring the client and themselves each only touch the relevant part of the document they absolutely have to.

  2. Office & car park visits; two members of the team attend to the client either in the spacious office reception or rear car park.  Again the team will be wearing gloves and face masks and interact with the clients maintaining a safe distance.  Car bonnets provide a suitable ‘desk’ and on a breezy day window wipers have been helpful in securing a document for signature!

  3. Home signing themselves; we can issue clients with very clear instructions regarding what to do to ensure their Will is executed correctly and legal.  It may be neighbours over the garden fence or friends who call with shopping may witness the Will however a strong recommendation is that the client takes a short video on their phone which could be sent to the solicitor by email or other means to store on file in the event any formalities are challenged in the future.

 

This has worked well for many of our clients.  A client who we recently visited at home to facilitate the signature of their Will commented:

“You have all been brilliant, very kind and helpful. Everything was well explained and I’ve appreciated all your help.”

In addition to Wills our team have been preparing and assisting clients with Enduring Powers of Attorney documents.

For queries on all our Wills services or to received a free Wills pack please email wills@wilson-nesbitt.co.uk or telephone 0800 840 9293. Or to arrange for one of our Wills specialists to contact you at a time of your convenience click here.