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Can I make or change a Will during lockdown?

View profile for Pamela Precious
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Can I make or change a Will during lockdown?

This is one of a series of blogs answering questions people have raised with us about practical issues in relation to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Yes, it is perfectly possible to make or change your Will during the lockdown. It is all about putting practical arrangements in place with your solicitor. Understandably many people focus on the signing of their Will. Whilst this is an aspect which we will turn to later, it is important that you discuss your wishes with your solicitor. This is so that your Will can be drafted accurately to reflect your wishes and to so prevent any future unintended consequences.

In addition, if your circumstances are made more complex by, for example, the ownership of a business or land or co-habiting or remarriage, then your solicitor will be able to talk through the various options open to you. This will ensure the needs of partners, family members and business partners can be dealt with in a clear and unambiguous way.

Where we might have previously conducted a face-to-face meeting, we are holding scheduled meetings by telephone, Facetime or other video options; these are actually working very well and we and clients have actually adjusted to this remarkably straightforwardly! Your Will can be quickly drafted and sent on to you by email or post.

In relation to the signing of your Will, how this is carried out will depend on individual circumstances. Currently the law does not allow for electronic signatures. Your Will must be signed in the presence of two independent people; this means they cannot be beneficiaries to your Will. We are very happy to advise on how best to carry this out given the current restrictions and guidance. In some situations, we can arrange to witness your Will if suitable alternatives are not available.

The practicalities revolve around ensuring sufficient distance and following a clear procedure in relation to handling documents, pens and the sequence of actions - all of which we can tailor and set out clearly for your particular circumstances. Where you are self-isolating, arrangements can take the form of witnesses observing signatures through windows or porches.

These are understandably anxious times for many; if you are ‘taking stock’ and looking to put your affairs in order, then it is still perfectly possible to make or change your Will. Talk to your solicitor about how best to tailor the practicalities to your situation and remember, take the opportunity to discuss your wishes and the various options open to you before your finalise your Will document.

If you are looking for legal advice and practical help in relation to your Will, then please do contact me or other members of the Harrowells Private Client Team and we will get things sorted for you.