Will Writing during Coronavirus

Category: Estate Planning, Lasting Power of Attorney, Probate, Wills

These unprecedented times are leading us all to change the ways we live our lives.  The Government has dictated that we can only leave our homes for specific reasons. So where does this leave us with regards to Wills? Maybe you have concerns about whether your current Will arrangements are up to date, or perhaps Will writing was something on your ‘to do’ list, which now seems an impossible task.  Whatever your situation, Nash & Co Solicitors are on hand to be of assistance to you during these worrying times and having been named as key workers it is clear to see the importance of the job of a qualified Will writer.

How are we working for our clients?

With our team working in Plymouth, and Bridget Holness, a Consultant Solicitor from Nash & Co operating from her home in Bovey Tracey, we’re able to offer a comprehensive service to all of our clients, no matter where they are from. We can conduct appointments over the phone, via Skype, and also have the ability to help you sign documents through your window at home, whilst recognising the need for social distancing to keep everyone safe.   

Bridget explains more about the process. “We tend to begin with a chat on the phone to establish some basic information and discuss the cost of the Will. When this has been agreed, we can then either take some instructions over the phone or by video conferencing. We can ask questions or email them to you. The phone call not only allows us to build up a relationship with the client, but enables us to offer advice regarding any aspect of the Will writing process such as appointing executors, making gifts and protecting beneficiaries.  It is also important to identify any potential claims against the estate and offer inheritance tax and care fees planning advice where appropriate.”

With this stage complete, Nash & Co’s lawyers can prepare the Will and deliver this to the client (either by email or hand delivery if local) for their consideration. Clients can then discuss any queries they may have before we proceed to the Will signing process. 

Signing your Will with witnesses

The Wills must be signed in front of two independent witnesses. As yet, the witnessing rules have not been relaxed to allow electronic signatures or video-witnessing, but we’re hoping that this may happen sometime in the future. You may think that the problem of finding witnesses can easily be achieved by having a spouse or child witness the Will, but if they sign, they can risk losing any legacy or inheritance left to them.

For this reason, it is often best to use your neighbours (if they have not been named in the Will). We have prepared detailed instructions of how Will signing can take place, taking into consideration social distancing, to protect clients and witnesses. Our lawyers can also be available to act as a witness in their local area, in most instances. Once signed, the Will can then be returned to us so that we can check that the process has been completed correctly and we can store if free of charge.

We’d often recommend that the Will writing should not be done in isolation as it can raise other affairs that need to be put in order, such as checking property ownership, considering how undrawn pensions will pass and putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place. We can discuss these points with clients if they wish.

Contacting us for further information or help

Anyone wishing to discuss anything further can call the team on 01752 827076 to speak to the Team leader, David Cornelius (or by email at [email protected]). You’re also welcome to contact Bridget Holness in Bovey Tracey by calling her on 01626 830264 or emailing her at [email protected].

Such times make Will writing more important than ever and we aim to make the process as simple as possible to put in place a valid Will which we hope gives clients some peace of mind in these turbulent times.