24 April 2020

The restrictions and social distancing measures that have been in place are impacting on all areas of life. Many of our clients have asked if they can still make a Will, or update an existing Will.

At Battens, we are here to help. We have implemented the necessary measures to keep us and our clients safe to provide and maintain our full service. We are able to offer telephone and videoconference (Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc) meetings to take instructions regarding any legal matter.

Here are some frequently asked questions answered by our private client team:

1) Can you still make or update your Will during the Coronavirus pandemic?

Yes they can. There is no reason why people cannot amend or update their Wills and most solicitors are still open for business and can assist them to ensure they have a legally valid Will.

2) How can you instruct your solicitor in relation to your Will during the Coronavirus outbreak?

If instructions cannot be given in person they can be given by letter, telephone, email or by video conference calls.

3) What solutions are being found to make sure a Will is properly witnessed during the Coronavirus outbreak?

It is still necessary to comply with the signing requirements of Wills in the section 9 of the Wills Act 1837, ie in front of two independent witnesses, otherwise the Will will not be legally valid. We are doing Will signings complying with social distancing restrictions, such as in people’s gardens or witnessing signatures through windows.

4) What are the risks of writing your own Will during lockdown?

Homemade Wills keep solicitors in business, usually because they contain errors, or cause unforeseen problems after someone dies. It can often be a false economy to prepare a Will yourself, as there will be additional legal costs for your executors when dealing with the administration of your estate. If you want a legally valid Will, it is worth instructing a solicitor to prepare it for you.

5) Why should you use a Solicitor when making or updating a Will during the Coronavirus pandemic?

A solicitor will act in your best interests to ensure that you have the right Will for you. They can also give you advice on inheritance tax, care fees, potential claims against your estate and other related matters. If you are thinking about updating or making a Will, ring your solicitor as they will be able to advise you.

For more information on making a Will, contact one of our Private Client Team below:

Naomi Dyer - Sherborne

01935 811307

Christine Butterfield - Dorchester

01305 216205

Natalie Mason - Wareham

01929 500323

Lesley Eveleigh - Yeovil

01935 846275

Sally Manning - Castle Cary

01963 834477