Covid-19 has caused our personal and professional lives to change suddenly, almost beyond recognition. With the country adhering to the Government’s social distancing measures this has impacted on the signing and witnessing of Wills.
For a Will to be valid it must:
- Be in writing
- Be signed by the person making the Will (the testator) or by another person at their direction if they cannot sign in the presence of two independent witnesses: and
- These two witnesses must also sign the Will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.
In normal circumstances these conditions are simple to adhere to however with the social distancing measures in place further thought is needed.
People often ask us if family members can be witnesses, a witness must be independent to the testator, this means that immediate family, particularly if they are benefiting under the Will, cannot act as witnesses.
Perhaps your neighbours can help? It is important to remember to adhere to the social distancing measures. It may, therefore, now be necessary to take place outside so that you are still a safe distance apart.
If you are self-isolating your witnesses could watch you sign your Will through a closed window. It is important that your witnesses see your Will and see you sign it. Your witnesses must also ensure that they adhere to social distancing between themselves.
If you do not have convenient external windows due to living in a block of flats and not on the ground floor, you may need to go to your foyer so that you can ensure social distancing measures are still met.
It would then be possible to pass the signed Will to the witnesses through the window or letterbox for the witnesses to complete and return to you.
Your witnesses DO NOT need to read your Will.
18 May 2020
The views expressed in this blog do not in any way constitute advice and are specific to the date noted. As time passes the facts can change and readers should consult their adviser for up to date advice on any matters covered within the blog. Invest Southwest offers an initial review, which is free of charge, however long it takes. From this we will be able to confirm how we can help and give you an opportunity to decide if you would like us to. Thereafter, we will provide you with detailed recommendations and exact costs. Please note that we promise not to levy any kind of fee unless we can demonstrate a benefit to you.