The Covid-19 pandemic has put things in perspective for many, highlighting just how crucial it is to have an up-to-date will in place. According to the Law Society, the number of enquiries relating to wills has increased by 30%.

How can E J Coombs continue to make wills for clients during ‘lockdown’?

Our business structure is kept up to date with the latest technology in order to provide the best service that we can.  This technology allows us to work flexibly to avoid any interruptions to our services and we will remain fully contactable during this unprecedented period.

We have a comprehensive Wills Factsheet and Questionnaire which can be forwarded to you, to complete and return, via post or email. Alternatively, we can take your instructions via telephone or video-conference.

We will prepare a draft copy of the Will, for your approval and then forward the final version to you with instructions on how to sign at home.

The Ministry of Justice has announced that Solicitors acting in connection with the execution of wills will be classified as ‘key workers’ and we will continue to deliver essential service to you during this crisis.

How can I arrange to arrange to have my will witnessed?

The law relating to the signing of wills is extremely archaic, dating back to 1837, and amongst other formalities, in order for the will to be valid, you must sign in the presence of two independent witnesses and ensure that both witnesses then sign the Will straight after.

As per the Government guidelines, social gatherings are deemed unacceptable, and having a Will signed correctly is currently proving extremely challenging.  You may wish to consider the following options:

  • Ask your neighbours whether they would be prepared to act as witnesses, perhaps while you are in your respective gardens.
  • Alternatively, stand at the front of your property and ensure that your neighbours are maintaining distance so far as possible.
  • For those who are most vulnerable, you may wish to sign close to an easily accessible window, whilst your witnesses observe from outside and vice versa.

Will the authorities find ways to make it easier to execute Wills during ‘lockdown’?

The Law Society of England and Wales and the Ministry of Justice have been in communication about finding ways to make it easier to witness a Will.  As of yet, we have not received official confirmation that e-signatures or video-witnessing in respect of wills will be accepted by the authorities.

A suggestion has been made for legislation to be introduced mirroring the process of will making, for those in the armed forces.  A ‘privileged will’ allows for members of the armed forces to draw up a will quickly when they do not have the capabilities to comply with formalities otherwise needed. As such, there is no requirement for witnesses.

E J Coombs Solicitors will continue to keep you up to date with the latest news regarding wills and we will be happy to assist, if you have any queries or concerns of your own. Please contact us for further information