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Coronavirus Update: Wills and Probate

08 Apr 2020

In these unprecedented times, our Private Client team here at Hay & Kilner LLP wishes good health to everyone with the hope that life will return to normal as soon as possible.

In the interim, we are actively monitoring and responding to the developing situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and are following the guidance issued by the UK Government, Public Health England and the NHS; however, we are still very much dedicated to helping those who require assistance with their Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Trust and Probate needs.

We understand that the current situation surrounding COVID-19 raises concerns for individuals who currently do not have a valid Will in place. We have therefore set out below the information you may need in relation to
putting in place your Will during these unique times.

Q: Can I make a Will without meeting in person?

Making a Will often involves making big decisions and although we will not be in a position to meet face-to-face, we will be able to talk things through with you on the phone or via a video call.

Please call us or email a member of our Private Client team to discuss how this can be achieved should you or a family member need to discuss their existing Will or putting in place a new one.

Q: Do you need any information from me before we discuss my Will?

If you would like to make a Will, it is important that you have had a think about what you would like your Will to
achieve in order that your discussions with us can be as meaningful as possible.

It is helpful for us to have as much background information as possible prior to us advising you on your Will.

Q: How will I see a draft of my Will?

We will send you your draft Will by email – however, if you do not have access to email and would rather receive a copy by post, please let us know and we can arrange this for you.

In addition to your draft Will, we will also provide you with a covering letter explaining your Will and why it has been drafted in this way. Once you have received your draft, you can still contact us to discuss any questions you may have.

Coronavirus

Q: I’m happy with my draft Will. How do I get the final version witnessed whilst self-isolating?

The new social distancing rules to help reduce the spread of coronavirus mean that we are unable to meet our clients at our offices.

The formalities of signing a Will are set out in the Wills Act 1837 and state that the Will needs to be signed by the Testator (the individual making the Will) in the presence of two independent adult witnesses, who also have to sign the document themselves.

When it comes to signing, we will provide you with full details on how this can be done whilst maintaining social distancing and complying with advice from the UK Government.

In the event that you live alone or with family members who will not be able to witness the Will, you may need to rely on your neighbours who may be willing to assist with witnessing the Will at a safe distance. With that in mind, we remind clients to take every precaution to minimise any health risk.

Q: Can the Will be signed electronically?

Currently, it is not possible to sign a Will using an electronic signature and it is important that Wills follow the correct legal formalities to ensure they are valid.

Our thoughts are with everyone during this difficult time and our Private Client team will continue to offer advice in relation to Wills and succession planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Inheritance Tax. Please contact our Private Client team on 0191 232 8345 for further information or email Alison Hall at Alison.hall@hay-kilner.co.uk for further information.