Many have been concerned about their health during the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to an influx in particularly vulnerable people making Wills and codicils. Whilst it’s easy to rush to put pen to paper it would be wise to ensure that a prospective Will meets all the legal requirements. There are no immediate plans by the government to change the law relating to the signing of the Will despite the pandemic wreaking havoc.
Ideally, the law requires that a Will is signed by a person ‘in the presence of’ two or more independent witnesses who must be present ‘at the same time’ as the creator of the Will.
It is possible for somebody else under the direction of the maker and ‘in the presence of’ to sign a Will but the witnesses must be in the line of sight of each other during this process. Nobody should seek to break social distancing rules because the virus still poses a very serious threat. Always seek legal advice when creating a Will. Whilst it may be easy to rush into preparing a homemade Will the last thing you want is the validity of your Will to be questioned in the future.
Lots of will writers are working in different ways now whether that’s from home or at the office with less face to face meetings. Social distancing measures will be around for a long time but the country has adapted to new ways of working and there are still services available during this difficult time.
We may see the law surrounding Wills change in the future as a result of the virus as there has been much discussion surrounding this but for now, we must work with the law as it is. It will be interesting to see whether the law develops in due course to make this process easier but time will tell.