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Coronavirus: be cautious of choosing a ‘do-it-yourself’ will

PUBLISHED: 17:21 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:01 17 April 2020

A DIY Will is often done from the comfort of your own home, usually via an online form gathering basic information about your wishes. Picture: Getty Images

A DIY Will is often done from the comfort of your own home, usually via an online form gathering basic information about your wishes. Picture: Getty Images

francescoridolfi.com

As coronavirus continues to cause widespread disruption across the region, you may be tempted to make your own will. Alisdair Liddle from Spire Solicitors offers a few words of caution.

A DIY Will is often done from the comfort of your own home, usually via an online form gathering basic information about your wishes. Picture: Getty ImagesA DIY Will is often done from the comfort of your own home, usually via an online form gathering basic information about your wishes. Picture: Getty Images

Each day, we see the emotional and overwhelming impact of Covid-19, or the coronavirus pandemic. Alongside the global outbreak, people are more focused on getting their legal and financial affairs together to prepare for the “what if” scenario.

With social distancing imperative for the decline of the global impact of Covid-19, as well as a more stringent consumer looking after their day-to-day financial affairs more closely, a significant increase has appeared in online ‘DIY’ wills.

A DIY will is often done from the comfort of your own home, usually via an online form gathering basic information about your wishes. Whereas this type of will may offer savings on time and money, the consequences of it going wrong could be more severe. This is because the online forms lack any type of personalised estate planning to achieve your wishes appropriately, as well as being predominantly run by unregulated will writers, firms and solicitors.

The most serious risk of undertaking a DIY will by such a platform is it opens your estate to potential issues, many of which will unfortunately only come to light after your passing, whether this be through provisions being too vague, higher taxes and fees, or instances which will deem your will invalid. It’s important to remember should your DIY will be deemed valid, it could also be contested in court due to lack of appropriate advice and understanding.

A DIY Will is often done from the comfort of your own home, usually via an online form gathering basic information about your wishes. Picture: Getty ImagesA DIY Will is often done from the comfort of your own home, usually via an online form gathering basic information about your wishes. Picture: Getty Images

Even though most of our nation is in lockdown, it is still possible to make a will remotely, as well as adding a codicil (amend) to your existing will via your local solicitor. At Spire Solicitors LLP, we can handle every step of making a will remotely, whether this be by email, telephone, or video chat to ensure your wishes are kept and understood.

Much like most law firms, we always recommend you take advice from an SRA regulated firm, such as we are, to minimise risk to your estate.

The process of making the will is simple during lockdown. We have summarised the process and key information below for your ease.

How do you make a will during lockdown?
This step is simple as most instructions can be taken over the telephone, video and email. Once the will has been drafted, this will be sent for approval or amendment, prior to the final will being released for signing.

How to you get your will witnessed?
To be legally valid, a will has to be signed by the will-maker in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses will also need to sign the will. The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the estate. With the current lockdown, it’s currently advisable that wills are signed in the presence of neighbours or friends at a safe distance, by using appropriate protective materials and separate pens. It is possible for the will to be signed and witnessed through a window at the same time with the above measures.

Can you digitally sign a will? 
This is a common question we are receiving, and the quick answer is unfortunately no. A wet signature is used to clearly identify the individual, with witnesses signing to confirm that they were present at the time of the signing. This is a legal requirement to determine the validity of a will.

The process, although different to what people normally would expect, covers the essentials for you to make a valid will during lockdown. We provide clear, straightforward advice and pricing, as well as advise you on any other aspects you may wish to consider during the process.

At Spire Solicitors LLP, we have the tools and technology to continue providing an uninterrupted service. Our business will continue to achieve the best level of service to our clients with the same level of support.

Please contact Spire Solicitors LLP on 01603 677077, or via wills@spiresolicitors.co.uk, for further information.

This page is sponsored by Spire Solicitors.


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