How to write a will during lockdown. Solicitors are seeing a surge in the number of people wishing to make a will – at exactly the time it’s harder than ever to do so but this article will guide you through how you can still write or update a will during lockdown.
The UK is currently two months into lockdown and with daily briefings from the government being led with stark COVD-19 related death figures, many of us have seen mortality, and especially the prospect of our own, brought into sharp focus in the last few months.
If you want to ensure your loved ones are looked after, have specific wishes relating to the distribution of your assets, or the care of your dependants after your death, the best way to manage this is with a professionally drafted will.
How To Write A Will During Lockdown
Despite the UK being in various stages of lockdown, it is absolutely still possible to write a will in order to ensure your wishes relating to the distribution of your estate after your death are fulfilled.
To write a will during lockdown you will need to:
- Have considered how you want to distribute your estate including any property, money or specific possessions you have.
- Have considered how you would like the care of your dependant(s) managed.
- Have access to two people who are not beneficiaries of the will to witness its signing – see below for creative ways to do this in the current climate.
- Contact experienced and accredited solicitors like Hattons who are experts in will and probate matters.
Nobody likes to think about dying but one of the most positive and responsible things you can do relating to death is to take the time to prepare a legally binding will.
Hattons Solicitors can even provide an emergency will writing service so that if you need to draft a will suddenly and quickly, such as in situations like we are currently facing, their friendly and experienced solicitors are on hand to guide you through the process every step of the way, and can work to facilitate this whilst maintaining all social distancing precautions advised.
Writing A Will During Lockdown
If you would like to write your will during lockdown, the rest of this article will take you through the process in more detail and how Hattons Solicitors can help you. At Hattons we like to take a practical approach to planning for death and if you’re one of the 54% of adults that doesn’t have a will, lockdown might be just the time to get one made.
What Is A Will?
A will is a formal legal document that details how your estate will be managed and distributed in the event of your death. Wills must be signed by the will maker and two witnesses over the age of 18 who aren’t listed as beneficiaries or spouses of beneficiaries. Without this, your will is deemed invalid and your wishes may not be fulfilled.
In addition, one or more executors of the will need to be named and present. Executors are the people who will manage your estate and it’s transition to its beneficiaries in line with your wishes and many people choose to list their solicitor as one of their executors due to the often complex and stressful nature of the role.
How can the requirements of a will be met during lockdown?
If getting all those people in the same place at the same time whilst maintaining the current social distancing rules sounds like a tough ask, you’d be right – but it is possible. The law society is pressing the government to relax the rules around wills during the COVID-19 crisis but for now, Hatton’s is happy to work with you to facilitate arrangements that meet the lawful requirements of a will and satisfy social distancing guidelines.
A practical example of how signing a will could work in practice in the current climate in England and Wales would be to sign the will outside of your house utilising two neighbours who aren’t displaying any covid-19 symptoms as witnesses. They would need to maintain a safe distance away whilst still being present and as long as precautions are taken such as everyone using their own pens, making no physical contact, wearing gloves and washing their hands afterwards, to provide a workable solution.
What If I Can’t Meet The Criteria to Write My Will In Lockdown?
Hattons will do everything we can to facilitate the safe creation of a will but for those clients who are in isolation for any reason, we will discuss the matter over the phone or use video calls in the first instance in order to reassure our clients we will do as much as we can remotely to record your wishes and then will work to complete the process in person as soon as it is safe to do so.
Who Should Write A Will?
If you are an adult with any kind of assets or debts, you should strongly consider setting up and regularly reviewing your will. Assets include property, cash, savings, shares, businesses you own and pensions and debts cover anything that you owe. Debts can include mortgages, loans and credit cards and the total value of your estate to be considered at the time of your death is the combined total of your assets minus the combined total debts in your name.
As the value of your estate will change throughout your life, it is important to revisit your will regularly, particularly at key milestones in your life such as having children, getting married, divorced or coming into an inheritance to ensure it still accurately reflects your wishes.
Please note that wills are especially important for unmarried couples as without a legally recognised partnership like marriage or a civil partnership, you aren’t entitled to inherit anything if your partner dies, even if you have been together for a significant amount of time which can be a cause of significant upset should this information come as a surprise in the event of a loved one’s death.
What Happens If I Die Without A Will?
If you die without a legal will in place, the laws of intestacy dictate who will inherit your estate which may not be in keeping with your wishes or assumptions. Intestacy dictates the way that estates can be shared between a partner and family members and only married or civil partners, along with some other close relatives can inherit under these terms. If this wouldn’t be in keeping with your wishes, writing is a will is the only option to ensure your estate is managed and distributed as you would like.
Who Can Help Me Write A Will During Lockdown?
There are plenty of will writing services online and charities that can help you for a donation, but for the peace of mind that having a solicitor experienced in these matters can provide, we would always recommend seeking legal advice from a solicitor specialising in wills and probate, and who is also a member of the Law Society.
The Law Society ensures your solicitor’s practices are upheld by an independent body and high standards are maintained. Consulting a solicitor will guarantee your will contains a clear and unambiguous disposal of your estate, and is executed correctly, which may not always be possible with an online template.
It’s been an intense couple of months in the UK due to COVID-19 and in times like these it’s natural to be thinking of those we love and care for the most but sadly can’t see at the moment. Now that you know it is possible to write a will during lockdown, if you would like to take positive steps to protecting your loved ones and ensure that your wishes are executed as you expect in the event of your death, Hattons Solicitors can help.
If you would like any assistance from our expert team of solicitors specialising in will writing or would just like to talk through your options with an informal discussion, please do get in touch on 01744 413170Posted on: 24/Jun/2020 Posted in: Family Law