Making a will during the coronavirus pandemic
We have received many enquiries from clients asking if it is still possible to make a new will or review an existing will during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
This guidance note provides a summary of the present position.
Is Rutherfords open for business?
Rutherfords LLP remains open for business while respecting the national emergency restrictions.
Our experienced team are working from home using cloud-based will software and a secure digital network to ensure continuity of service.
The government has confirmed that lawyers preparing wills are defined as key workers.
Can I make a will or amend an existing will?
Yes, we can take instructions and prepare your new will while ensuring the safety and health of our staff and clients and respecting the social distancing guidelines.
We offer a range of alternatives to a face to face meeting including telephone, email or Skype or Zoom video conferencing.
Call our experienced team on 01827 311411. Your call will be diverted to a specialist in the department or we will arrange for your call to be returned.
Contact [email protected]
Preparing your will
We will obtain instructions and discuss your requirements by telephone or video conference facility. We can also correspond by email.
Your will is then prepared and a draft is sent to you for approval by letter, or if you request, as a pdf attachment to an email. You will also receive a free commentary explaining the main terms of your will.
Our team can discuss any queries over the telephone.
Once the draft will is approved we will send the original to you to sign.
How to witness a will
Your will must be witnessed by two independent witnesses (at least 18 years old) who must be present at the same time the will is signed.
Your family or a beneficiary cannot act as a witness.
Many clients ask friends or neighbours to sign but this poses particular challenges because of the risks of coronavirus. We recommend that the risks are minimised by following the social distancing guidelines and by following this guidance:
Do not arrange to sign your will if you have symptoms of coronavirus or are isolating under the `stay at home` guidance because someone in your household may have symptoms.
Do not ask a friend or neighbour to act as a witness if they have symptoms of coronavirus or are isolating under the `stay at home` guidance because someone in their household may have symptoms.
- Sign the will outside or at your front door or a suitable place between you and your friend or neighbour.
- Do not allow the witnesses to enter your house
- Make sure you and each witness stays 2 metres apart at all times
- You may wish to wear gloves (if they do not impede signing)
- Do not share a pen (you and each witness should use their own pen)
- You can then sign the will with the two witnesses present (but standing 2 metres away)
- The witnesses must have `line of sight` and can see you signing. The witnesses do not have to see the terms of your will which remain confidential
- After you have signed, step back and allow each witness to sign in turn while remaining 2 metres apart
- Place the will in an envelope
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Can my will be signed remotely?
No, the law requires the two witnesses to be physically present.
It is not possible to witness a will via video link or video messaging.
We can supervise the signing of the will by electronic means if this is needed. Please contact us for further details.