Making a Will from a distance…
There’s been much discussion recently about whether it’s possible to make a legally binding Will during lockdown. Why the concern?
Well, it is a legal requirement that a Will should be signed by the Testator (the person whose will it is) in the presence of two witnesses.
Those two witnesses then sign the Will to indicate that they watched the Testator sign it.
This is called Executing a Will.
If there is any concern that this has not been done in accordance with the law, the Will can be challenged and even set aside. That means a previous, correctly executed, Will would take effect. Worse, if there was no earlier Will the estate will be dealt with under the Intestacy Rules.
Proper execution of a Will might be tricky given our social distancing requirements.
So here are some ways in which people have been dealing with it.
The Will could be signed by the Testator inside their home while the witnesses watch through the window, but at a distance from one another. The Will is then passed out of the window, signed by both, and passed back in again.
Alternatively, do this in reverse. The Testator could take the Will to a neighbouring house where the neighbours can watch them from inside the house as they sign the document on the windowsill and then pass it inside for the witnesses to sign.
Some people have been having their Will witnessed in the outdoors, whilst observing social distancing. For example, weight the Will on a car bonnet, wall or picnic bench. The Testator signs, and the witnesses sign in turn too.
To make or update your Will at this time:
1. contact us to make a telephone appointment to discuss your wishes
2. read our Guide to Wills before your appointment
3. we’ll talk to you on the phone about the details of your Will, and take your instructions
4. we’ll draw up your Will and send it to you for approval by email or post
5. we’ll print the approved version and post it to you with instructions for how to correctly execute it. We can come to your home to witness it at a distance if required.
Make sure you talk to us about how you are going to execute your Will so we can ensure that it meets the legal requirements.