Can I make a will during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown?

Mature couple on beach - Photo by Esther Ann on Unsplash

Since the start of the Government lockdown, we have seen an increase in the demand for our Wills service, which is only natural during this uncertain period.

Not only are people looking to secure their family’s financial future during a worrying time, but also many people have found that the lockdown has given them more time and a rare opportunity to do something that many put off ‘for some other time’…

The simple answer is ‘yes’

Our Wills and Probate Team feel that helping people to make a Will is an essential service. We have made the necessary steps to maintain our Wills service while safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our staff and clients. Our team members are available and working hard from home to carry on serving the public and can be instructed to make your Will.

How is making a Will different during lockdown?

signing a document - Photo by Leon Seibert on Unsplash

Essentially there are three main ways that making a Will during lockdown will be different:

  • Usually our wills and probate service would take place in a face-to-face consultation but the meeting can now done by phone or by online video (Facetime, Zoom or WhatsApp). We are all quickly adapting to keeping in touch using technology and our Wills experts have found that clients are comfortable working with us in this new way. Whilst keeping in line with Government and NHS advice, we will always work with our client in a way that best suits them and brings them peace of mind.

Just as you would have done before lockdown, before you start the process of making a Will, it is important that you prepare for the online or telephone meeting. Think about what questions you would like to ask; write a list of your assets and finances; decide who you wish to include in your Will and who you wish to oversee it (the Executor of your Will).

  • Before the lockdown, documents relating to the Will process would be exchanged physically but that is obviously not possible at this time. Instead your documents will be exchanged via recorded post or email.
  • For a Will to be valid it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. It means that three people must be physically present to sign the document; the Will maker and the two witnesses. Social distancing makes this difficult but a bit of creative thinking can get around the challenge as long as all three are present and can see each other sign.

For example, as long as you keep to social distancing guidelines, Wills can be witnessed by neighbours over the garden wall or through a window. The witnesses then add their signature, name and address in case they need to be contacted at a later date to prove the signing of the will. We advise that everyone uses their own pens and wear gloves if they are available.

If you are unsure about how the Will process will work during lockdown, if you are concerned about social distancing during the witness signing or would just like to discuss the process in general then call an expert Wills solicitor. Our team will provide free and confidential initial advice before you have to make any decisions.