Due to the ongoing Coronavirus the vast majority of businesses have had to adjust the way they interact with their clients.
Law firms, of course, are no different, but what about helping a client execute their Will?
Surely the signing of a Will dictates a face-to-face meeting and two independent witnesses to oversee the execution?
Well, sort of, but not quite.
We are being asked by an increasing number of people keen to ensure their estate is bequeathed as per their wishes how they can execute their Will in times of social distancing or self-isolation.
An office visit might be out of the question and the thought of inviting people into your home in these times can be risky.
The fact remains you will need two independent witnesses aged over 18.
And remember, if this is a family member then they will be excluded from benefiting from the Will.
So what can you do?
Spot the window of opportunity.
You are probably already getting used to deliveries and the post being left a safe distance from your door. Witnessing a Will is really no different.
As long as the witnesses can physically see you signing the Will they don’t have to be sat next to you at the kitchen or office table.
Be more creative.
Position your witnesses outside a window and let them watch you sign the Will. Then pass the Will through a gap in the window or through the letterbox and the witnesses can both sign as witnesses.
A witness can then send the signed Will back to the solicitor’s office.
But what if you can’t physically sign the Will yourself, for example if a physical disability prevents you from holding a pen?
In this instance you will need a third volunteer, along with the two witnesses, who you can ask to sign on your direction.
They will need to be sure the Will they are signing on your behalf is the Will you intended to sign but once established they are legally entitled to sign at your direction on your behalf. If this is done it is essential to inform your solicitor so it can be made clear the Will is being signed ‘at your direction’.
If you have any questions about your Will or are considering writing a Will for the first time, we are here to help and can guide you – remotely of course, through the process of protecting your inheritance for your loved ones.
Call our Wills and Probate team on 0161 672 1242 for further guidance.