Coronavirus - how to make or change a Will during lockdown.
Coronavirus has led to an increase in the number of people who wish to make a Will for the first time or to change an existing Will. Solicitors who act in connection with the execution of Wills are classified as key workers by the Ministry of Justice.
Lots of people have contacted us to express concern that they wish to make a Will or amend their existing Will. They are worried that they will not be able to do so in the current climate. Pickerings has a team of three experienced Solicitors available to assist.
Can I still make a Will?
Yes. It is still possible to create or update a Will.
Our Wills and Probate team are all at work. Our IT systems enable the team to work remotely You can contact our team either by telephone on (01827) 317070 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I make my Will?
Depending on your circumstances there are a number of ways that we can take instructions for your Will.
Instructions can be taken over the phone, by video link or using FaceTime, Zoom conferencing or other methods.
If you want to make a Will, the best thing to do is to telephone us or email us on (01827) 317070 or email email@example.com, and we can identify the most appropriate method for your particular circumstances.
Once you have had your consultation with one of the team, they will draft your Will and send it to you for your approval. Once the document is agreed, we will provide guidance on completing the signing of the Will.
How can my Will be witnessed during the lockdown?
This is possibly the most difficult part since you may be on lockdown or self-isolating with family members who are beneficiaries of the Will. They will not be able to witness it for you.
A Will must be witnessed by two independent people that are present at the same time the Will is signed by the person making the Will.
Signing a Will is an exception to the rules on gatherings of more than 2 people and with careful arrangement you may be able to get your Will witnessed by neighbours or nearby friends. Everyone will need to wear gloves and stay 2 m apart from the others present. You need to make sure that you all have your own pens so that you do not touch the same pens.
What you can do is to put the Will on a flat surface outside - weigh it down if you are worried it might blow away! Then everyone can step forward separately to sign the Will. Once everyone has signed place the Will into an envelope before you remove your gloves.
What if I live alone and I am isolating?
If you live alone, and have no neighbours who are able to assist you, please telephone us on (01827) 317070 and we will advise on the best course of action in this circumstance.
We may still be able to assist you since execution of Wills falls into the category of key work which the government is allowing to take place. In this circumstance we would take extensive measures to maintain social distancing and follow current government and NHS advice.
Can my Will be witnessed electronically?
No. Current law does not permit this.
In summary these are difficult times however you are still within your rights to try to get your affairs in order provided that government and NHS guidance is followed.
Our team are still working hard to help so if you have any queries about getting your personal affairs in order please get in touch on (01827) 317070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.