Can I Still Make A Will Whilst In Lockdown?

Many essential services have struggled in recent weeks as traditional ways of working become increasingly challenging. Social distancing measures introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have hindered the way legal professionals are able to facilitate the increased demand for Wills.

Wills are still being written. However, many Wills are not being reviewed and may be out of date for changes in personal circumstances or legislation. Professionals have just needed to become a little more creative in the ways they ask testators and witnesses to sign a Last Will and Testament.
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What has changed?

Wherever possible, people should stay at home and avoid meeting others to stop the virus from spreading and overwhelming the NHS.
This has had a huge impact on the way practitioners complete the Wills process, where face to face meetings were the usual practice.
Under Section 9 of the 1837 Wills Act, a testator must sign their Will in front of two independent witnesses (witnesses who are not beneficiaries or executors of the estate). Whilst this was fairly easy in the past, quarantine advice makes this process almost impossible. However, we have devised simple ways and means for the benefit of all.

Here at our Technical and Legal Services, we continue to do everything we possibly can to service our new and existing clients during these very difficult times.

Our ability to provide remote services through use of technology, from a telephone call, conference call, Zoom, Skype and Go To Meetings etc., makes us stand out from the crowd. This means that you can deal with your Will, Lasting Power of Attorney, trust and tax advice etc., all by telephone or by email and documents are sent to you by e mail and Royal Mail. We are also advising our clients on signature processes with social distancing measures in mind.

Meanwhile, our offices continue to operate with minimal skeleton staff for the protection of our staff and clients. We are not able to accept visitors at this time although we can still process physical documents for our clients. If you do find that you need to call into the office, for instance to have documents witnessed, when it is otherwise difficult for you to arrange that with family and friends then do please get in touch.

How can I comply with government advice and make a valid Will?

Testators should ensure that witnesses remain at least two metres from the testator and other witnesses and make sure that separate pens are used to sign the document.
• Before this stage, our legal services has embraced video technology as a way for the professional practitioner to make sure the testator has the mental capacity to make the Will and to understand whether the Will request is being made without undue influence.

This will also be a key opportunity to use technology to ensure the testator’s final express wishes are considered and documented.
Whilst the approaches in creating a valid Will are much changed at present, the process remains the same and we remain dedicated in ensuring virus-based restrictions do not prevent such an important document from being written.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

If you would like to speak to your dedicated expert on Wills, Trusts and Probate, please contact us on 01727 867888 or email admin@westminsterwills.co.uk . You can also book an appointment online here

Professionals are often asked for legal advice which may be outside their area of specialism. As well as guiding you through the process, talking to an expert at legal services can help clear up any concerns you or your clients may have.

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