The Coronavirus pandemic has led to the whole country make significant changes to their everyday living including working from home, teaching their children due to school closure, self-isolating from their friends and families and only leaving the house for essential journeys. During this time, many people have had the chance to reflect on different aspects of their lives including making a Will and amending their current Wills.
For a Will to be valid, the execution of the Will must comply with Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. This means that the person making the Will must sign this in the presence of two independent witnesses, who need to be there in person i.e. not via video link/skype/zoom when the Will is signed. The witnesses would then add their signature and details to the Will to confirm that they have witnessed that Will being signed in their physical presence. There are also strict rules as to who may act as the witnesses. If any of these rules are not adhered to, the Will could be rendered invalid causing your estate to pass to people who may not be your chosen beneficiaries.
We appreciate that it is difficult to arrange for two people to witness the signing of the Will, whilst complying with the current social distancing guidance from the Government. However, many lawyers are finding different ways of signing their Wills by asking their witnesses to stand out the house and view the Will signing through a window or patio doors so the Will can be passed to the witnesses to sign.
Passmores Solicitors are committed to providing you with the appropriate legal advice for the preparation of your Will during these unprecedented times. We can offer an initial telephone/skype appointment to go through your requirements. Once the Will has been prepared, we can post the Will to you and arrange a telephone appointment to guide you through the signing process. If necessary, we can provide a ‘through the window’ service, where social distancing measures are adhered to.