Services
People
News and Events
Other
Blogs

Making a Will During COVID-19

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It is caused by a virus called coronavirus.  You will doubtless be aware that Government and NHS guidance in this area has been changing rapidly, and so you should always seek the most up-to-date information from official websites (www.gov.uk and www.nhs.uk).

Thus far, part of the guidance has been to self-isolate if you have COVID-19, or coronavirus symptoms (such as a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), or you are in an at-risk category such as those who:

  • are age 70 or over
  • have a long-term condition
  • are pregnant
  • have a weakened immune system

We have also closed our offices to both customers and staff in order to reduce the risk to everyone, but we very much remain open and here to support you.

 

Can I make a Will whilst your office is closed?

Of course!

A great many of our customers fall into one or more of the at-risk categories, but will still want us to prepare legal documents for them to sign, especially if they have health concerns.

As lawyers who prepare Wills are classed as key workers, we are able to support you with making a Will during this time.

We are currently working from home whilst our offices are closed, but we are able to arrange a telephone/Skype/FaceTime/WhatsApp/Zoom call with one of our lawyers. When you call to arrange an appointment, our paralegals will ask you for a brief summary of your intentions.

Once that call has taken place, we will then draft your Will and either post or email a draft to you for approval.

 

How do I sign my Will?

Current guidance still dictates that a Will must be signed in the presence of two independent (non-family) witnesses. All three of those people need to be able to see each other sign the document at the same time. You cannot sign your Will electronically.

When signing legal documents that we have prepared for you, if official guidance and staffing levels allow, we will continue our usual practice of arranging face-to-face signing appointments (subject to any necessary safety measures) with our lawyers/staff members as witnesses. This is because it is important for us to be able to confirm your understanding of your Will before you sign it. Whilst the office is closed, this appointment would be at your home and all three people would need to wear gloves and use separate pens.

If official guidance and/or staffing levels are such that our usual practice is not possible, then we are able to post or email the legal documents to you with written instructions on how they should be signed and witnessed without our lawyers/staff members being present. We would highly recommend that all three people wear gloves and use separate pens.

If we have not met you throughout the process of preparing your Will, however, we cannot guarantee the validity of it in the face of a challenge after your death. We would therefore recommend that we do meet with you once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, so that you can sign the document again in our presence.

 

What should I do now?

If you would like our assistance to make a Will in the current environment, please contact either Emma Stewart on 01869 255912 emmastewart@brethertons.co.uk or Sarah Horton on 01295 661535 sarahhorton@brethertons.co.uk or use our online contact form.

 

Brethertons LLP

April 2020