The current COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis is causing concern among people, particularly our elderly and vulnerable clients who are currently self-isolating. Our expert Wills and Probate team are continuing to take calls and respond to emails from those wondering if it’s possible to make or amend a Will as the coronavirus pandemic has made people think about just how crucial it is to make a Will and ensure it is kept up to date.
Clients have contacted us thinking it would be impossible to get their affairs in order, but we’ve come up with solutions and adaptations to ensure that we can continue to provide such a vital service throughout these uncertain times, while still practising social distancing and minimising person-to-person contact.
At Batt Broadbent we have been able to keep our virtual offices open and staff are able to securely work on files from home which means that we are able to provide clients with the same services as we would in our offices. We are able to take instructions from clients via telephone and Zoom instead of face to face meetings. Drafts documents can still be sent via email or post for approval and amendment.
We suggest that before your first “meeting” that you prepare as much as possible, think about what questions you want to ask, think about those that you wish to include in your Will and those you wish to oversee it. During our discussion we will talk through your wishes and listen to any concerns that you may have as we would if we were meeting face to face in the office.
For the Will to be valid it needs to be signed in the presence of two witnesses so that all three people are present together, unfortunately social distancing can make it difficult to find witnesses but there are ways to achieve this.
For example Wills can be witnessed by friends or neighbours through a window or from the garden gate or arrange a meeting in your garden, driveway or street as long as all three are together and can see each other sign. We advise that everyone should use their own pens and wear gloves whilst handling the Will and ensure that social distancing guidance is adhered to.
With the strict rules on social distancing some people may be concerned about being a witness. However, the government has said that those who are leaving their homes to help a vulnerable person are able to do so and it is our belief that helping someone get their affairs in order at a time when there is so much uncertainty would fall within this category.
The current times are extraordinary but our drive to do the best we can for our clients has not changed. We remain very much open for business and can continue to offer Will writing and advice on linked matters such as Probate, Inheritance tax and Powers of Attorney.