Writing your Will during the coronavirus lockdown

A Will might well be the most important legal document you ever sign as it protects your most important asset – your family.

Understandably, the current situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused people a great deal of worry, especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as to whether it is possible to create or update their Will.

Fortunately, the Ministry of Justice has announced Solicitors acting in connection with the execution of Wills are classified as key workers.

The Service we offer

Here at Phillips Solicitors incorporating Brain Chase Coles, our Wills and Probate team, headed by Lucy Watson, are coming up with solutions to help you get your affairs in order while keeping to the social distancing rules. We are still on hand to answer your questions and give you the advice you need and ensure that your Will is up-to-date.

While it will not be possible at the moment to sit down in a room with Lucy or one of our dedicated team, the importance of ensuring your wishes are followed in the future and your family protected are taking precedence.

We will therefore look to arrange an in-depth telephone conversation to understand your requirements, or potentially use video conferencing if that is something that you feel would suit you.

Lucy or a member of her team will then draft your Will and send it by post or email accompanied by an explanatory letter.

Having your Will signed and witnessed

Once you are happy with the Will we will post it to you with clear instructions on how to have it signed and witnessed to ensure its validity.

Even in these unprecedented times, under current rules, two adults must witness the signing of a Will. However, they must be independent and cannot be beneficiaries or be married to a beneficiary.

The witnesses, who for example could be your neighbours, also need to sign the Will so you need to place it in a convenient spot visible to everyone and move two metres away.  Everyone must see everyone else sign.

Both witnesses should separately approach and sign the Will, taking the necessary precautions, such as using their own pens, making no physical contact, wearing gloves and conducting the process quickly as well as adhering to strict handwashing measures afterwards.

These strict rules about a Will being signed and witnessed in person date back to 1837!  They are currently under review by the Ministry of Justice and if there is any change, we will provide an update on our website www.phillips-law.co.uk

To find out more please contact Lucy Watson, who is the head of the Wills and Probate team at Phillips Solicitors incorporating Brain Chase Coles on 01256 854646 or by emailing lucy.watson@phillips-law.co.uk