ITV Central News recently ran a feature on the increase in the number of people writing wills over the last six months – a 550% increase overall and a huge 1200% increase in those under 35.
It’s clear that people are concerned about the risks posed to them by the coronavirus outbreak and want to get their affairs in order and have one less thing to worry about.
Why should I make a will?
Making a will is important and, now more than ever, ensuring your affairs are in order and your will is up to date is on a lot of our clients’ minds. Being stuck in lockdown shouldn’t stop you from putting them in place.
Read more about how preparing a will can ensure your assets pass into the right hands.
How can I make a will during lockdown?
Ordinarily, we would meet with our clients face–to-face, but we appreciate that this isn’t always sensible, particularly if you are vulnerable.
We are happy to meet with you virtually via video conferencing facilities such as Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams of FaceTime if you would prefer. From that point on, we can deal with matters by telephone, email or post - we just need to ensure we are speaking with you and not someone pretending to be you!
Once we have fully understood your needs and concerns we will prepare a draft will for your consideration and send this by secure, password protected email or by post, whichever method is best for you. Your draft will is accompanied by a detailed explanatory note of each of the clauses it contains and any additional information needed from you will be clearly highlighted.
Once you receive the draft will we are on hand to answer any questions you may have to ensure you receive the high-quality service and tailored legal advice you would ordinarily receive from us.
How do I sign my will?
Ordinarily, a will must still be signed in the physical presence of two independent witnesses, despite the issues regarding self-isolating. However, the government has very recently announced a relaxation of these rules which will also work retrospectively. The changes mean that a will can be witnessed via video conference facilities.
The new legislation will apply to wills that have been made since 31 January 2020 and will apply for wills made up to 31 January 2022. Read more about the guidance for making wills by video call on the gov.uk website.
Despite this, it is incredibly important that the will is signed correctly. We will provide you with detailed instructions on how to do this and offer suggestions as to how this can be done whilst complying with the current government rules and restrictions.
For your added reassurance, we can oversee the will signing process either by video-conferencing or in person, if necessary.
Can I ask one of my family members to witness signing a will instead?
Individuals should not be tempted to ask their family or anyone who stands to benefit under the will (or anyone married to someone who stands to benefit) to be a witness. Doing this may inadvertently invalidate any gift to that person you’ve included in your will. Depending on the extent of their entitlement, this may undermine the entire purpose of preparing the will in the first place.
Can someone else manage my affairs if I’m self-isolating?
If you already have a lasting power of attorney in place then your attorney(s) may be able to manage your affairs if you need some help, depending on how they are drafted and whether they are registered.
If you don’t have one in place already then we can help keep things moving by preparing a temporary power of attorney, which is different to a lasting power of attorney in that it is very specific and you can limit it to the particular task that you’d like somebody to do for you. These can also be put in place quite quickly.
We encourage our clients to consider preparing these at the same time they turn their mind to preparing a will.
No matter where you are on your journey, we can help to support and guide you through the process. If you’d like to discuss putting a will in place, or would like advice or guidance around the process, please contact Matt Parr on 07979 412 698, or fill out our enquiry form, and a member of our private client team will get in touch with you shortly.
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