Many essential services have struggled in recent weeks as traditional ways of working become increasingly difficult.
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.
However, rest assured that Wills are still being written. Legal 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.
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 legal practitioners complete the Wills process where face to face meetings were usual practices.
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.
Here at legalmatters, we continue to do everything we possibly can to service our existing and new clients during these very difficult times.
Our ability to provide remote services makes us stand out from the crowd. This means that you can deal with your will, power of attorney, trust and tax advice etc all over the phone or by email and documents are sent to you by post. We are also advising our clients on signature processes bearing in mind social distancing measures.
Meanwhile, the office continues to operate with minimal skeleton staff for the protection of our staff, clients and visitors, enabling us to 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, legalmatters has embraced video technology as a way for the legal 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 one of our expert Wills and Probate lawyers, ring us on 01243 216900 or email us at email@example.com.