Where there's a Will, there's a way................

An article written by Amy Browning, one of our Wills and Probate team.

COVID-19 – what a start to the new decade.

This pandemic has meant changes to working practices for all of us not least for those of us who usually have the relative comfort of an office to work from.

Currently I am mostly working from home with the added extras of rowdy pets (which is not too much of a change from rowdy colleagues!) and the screams of ‘mummy I’ve finished on the toilet’.

The new way of working has brought with it challenges, however I, along with my colleagues in the private client department, am still able to deal with all of your requirements in terms of making Wills, albeit with some alterations.

Whilst I would usually see clients face to face in order to take instructions, I’m now mainly taking instructions via telephone appointment, email and video calls. I have to admit, there’s something to be said for working in your pyjamas although I do try to remember to change out of them for the video calls.

The big question for most people has been– ‘How do we sign?’

For a Will to be valid it must be signed by the Testator (person making the Will) in the presence of two independent witnesses.

We have a number of ways that we can still ensure a valid signing and some examples are set out below:

At the office: We are able to organise a time for you to visit the office and we can therefore provide the witnesses required. We are able to implement the required social distancing measures and would likely be across a room with a table in the middle. All we’d ask is that you bring your own pen!

At home: We are able to visit you at home if you are happy for us to do so. Again we have ways of maintaining social distancing – perhaps we’ll sign by passing the Will through a window or maybe we can set up office in your garden (fingers crossed for sunshine for these options!) or how about at the top and bottom of a staircase with the Will in the middle?

By post: We may be able to send the Will to you with instructions for signing if perhaps we have chatted to you via video call or we have met you before. In these circumstances you would need to be able to provide your own two independent witnesses.

There are various ways to still adhere to the rules both in terms of social distancing and the valid signing of a Will.

In short the message is clear: don’t put it off – we’re still here. I’ll just make sure it’s me that answers your call and not my 4 year old!

If you would like to contact Amy or any or our Wills and Probate team, all their contact details are here