Why lockdown is the perfect time to make a will
PUBLISHED: 12:32 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:32 08 April 2020
Making a will can be a daunting experience and we all make excuses for avoiding it. The coronavirus outbreak has given most of us the time and a reason to make a will and although the logistics involved pose challenges for solicitors, they can be overcome. Phillip Bazley, solicitor at Gordon Dean Solicitors LLP, explains.
What is a will?
A will sets out who your money and property (your estate) will pass to after your death. You can also use it to appoint guardians to look after your children after your death.
Why make a will?
If you do not make a will, the Intestacy Rules state who will inherit your estate, which are often inflexible and unfair. For example, if you are not married or in a registered civil partnership, your partner will receive nothing.
Can I make a will while the country is locked down?
Yes, we are fortunate at Gordon Dean Solicitors that all our staff are set up to be able to work from home. We can communicate with you and discuss your will using whatever method is easiest for you, such as email, Skype, Zoom etc. A will can then be prepared and emailed to you for checking and approval.
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Does my will need to be witnessed?
Wills require a person to sign or acknowledge their signature in the presence of two or more independent and unrelated witnesses. The witnesses also have to sign the will (and should not be a beneficiary of the will or married to someone who is). This makes signing a will and social distancing very difficult. Errors in witnessing wills are one of the main reasons for invalidating them, so it is vitally important to get it right.
The Law Society is discussing with the government whether signing formalities can be relaxed (such as video witnessing or requiring only one witness). Until then we are able to provide signing instructions and supervision for people who have access to witnesses.
In very exceptional circumstances, wills can be witnessed at a distance (for example through an open door or window) or signed at someone’s direction. While not ideal, this could ensure that a will is put in place (and it can be re-signed at a later date, if wished).
At Gordon Dean Solicitors, our fees for a straightforward single will start from £240, and for mirror wills (for a couple) £360 (inclusive of vat). You may also wish to consider making a Power of Attorney, which we would be happy to discuss with you.
Phillip an be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone on 01603 767671.
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