Writing a Will during lockdown

It may be the worry of the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic or it may be the case that we just have a little more time to think about what matters to us that is leading many people to think about finally getting around to making a Will or updating an existing Will.

The service we offer

Here at Richard Reed Solicitors, our Wills, Trusts and Probate team, headed by Wendy Mustard, have solutions and procedures in place to help you get your affairs in order, whilst keeping to social distancing rules.

This is good news as it means that you do not have to wait until the restrictions around lockdown have been lifted to make a Will.

While it will not be possible at the moment to sit down in a room with Wendy or another member of our dedicated team, we are able to ensure your end of life wishes are put in place.

In the first instance, we will arrange an in-depth telephone conversation to understand your requirements or use video conferencing if that is something that you feel would suit you.

Wendy or a member of her team will then draft your Will and send it to you by post or email, accompanied by an explanatory letter.

We will then arrange a call with you to go through the Will and make any necessary amendments at that time.

Having your Will signed and witnessed

Once you are happy with the Will, we will post it to you with clear instructions on how to have it signed and witnessed, with social distancing measures in mind.

Even in these unprecedented times, under current rules, two adults must witness the signing of a Will. However, they must be independent and cannot be beneficiaries or be married to a beneficiary.

The witnesses, who for example could be your neighbours, also need to sign the Will so you will need to place it in a convenient spot visible to everyone and move two metres away. 

Many of our recent clients have found inventive ways to be able to sign their Will during this time – they’ve been doing so in their gardens, through windows and from doorways, all of which are perfectly acceptable, as long as everyone involved can see everyone else sign the Will.

Witnesses should separately approach and sign the Will, taking the necessary precautions, such as using their own pens, making no physical contact and conducting the process quickly as well as adhering to strict hand washing measures afterwards.

Storing your Will safely

Once your Will is signed, it is important to store it where your executors can easily access it in the event of your death.

You can keep it at home with all your other important papers or your Solicitor can keep it safe for you in a secure place at their offices. Here at Richard Reed, we offer this service for free.

One place not to keep it however is in a bank safety deposit box. The reason for this is when someone dies, the bank cannot open the deposit box until the executors gets probate (permission from the Court to administer your affairs) and unfortunately probate cannot be granted without the Will.

To make a Will or amend one that you currently have in place, please contact our friendly and caring Wills & Probate team on 0191 567 0465 or email: info@richardreed.co.uk

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