Making a Will during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Rebecca Parr

The legal requirements for signing a Will require the testator (the person making the Will) to sign his or her Will in the presence of two witnesses.

With the current social distancing rules in force, which oblige people to stay at home, self-isolate and keep a certain distance apart from others, you might assume that preparing a Will could be a little difficult.

At the same time, solicitors have seen an increase in enquiries about making Wills and so we have had to adapt how we carry out this essential service for our clients.

The Law Society and the Ministry of Justice are currently discussing ways to deformalise the signing of Wills. This may involve introducing video witnessing of a Will or the acceptance of an e-signature.

The government are looking at this urgently and it is anticipated that new legislation will be put in place to deal with the requirements around witnessing Wills.

In the meantime, if you need to make a new Will now, or update your existing Will, there is no reason why you should not be able to do so.

Our private client department are able to offer telephone appointments to discuss your wishes as regards the preparation of your Will. We will send a draft to you by post or by email, so that you can check the content thoroughly, and we will speak to you about any amendments you want to make.

Once your Will has been finalised we will bind it and send it to you in the post together with instructions about how to sign it and ensure that it is witnessed properly. This can be achieved within the social distancing guidelines and we have put together a helpful guide to help you to do this.

As long as social distancing rules are respected, there are many different ways your Will can be witnessed. What is important, is that your witnesses can actually see you sign it.

Possible ways to overcome the social distancing measures and ensure the Will is signed and witnessed properly, would be for you to sign your Will in your garden, with your next door neighbour witnessing from their side of the fence, or you can ask someone to witness you signing through a window. If you have any doubts about what you should do, we will be able to help you.

Contact us today to make arrangements to prepare your new Will.