The Gard & Co private client department have been receiving numerous calls from concerned clients in relation to Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Many wish to update an existing Will or make a new one and we are being asked whether or not this can be done under the current social distancing guidelines.
The simple answer is yes:
Of course with the current lockdown and social distancing many clients are concerned as to how they can get their wills witnessed.
It is a formal requirement that a Will is in a written format (handwritten or typed) and it must be signed by the testator (person making the Will) in the presence of two witnesses who must see the testator sign. The witnesses must then also sign the Will and fill in identifying information. (There are other rules relating to the witnesses that you would be made aware of.)
Unfortunately, at present, there is a requirement that this is all done in physical sight between the witnesses and the Testator. Therefore video links/Skype etc. are not currently acceptable formats and could mean that the Will is invalid if done this way.
However, it remains a possibility that friends or neighbours could be in the presence of the testator and keeping the required social distance whilst the will is signed. Once the Will is signed the testator could then allow the witnesses to complete their signatures and details. This perhaps could be done by passing the will through a window or doorway but it is important that the two witnesses see the testator signing the will.
If you would like to make a new Will or Lasting Power of Attorney or would like to alter an existing one, please contact us (scroll down) for further advice to make sure it is done correctly.