COVID-19 EXPERT LEGAL INSIGHTS

Demand for wills is soaring but with the two witness rule hindered by social distancing what can you do? - Private client team quoted in
This is Money

31 March 2020

With the current Coronavirus crisis meaning many are looking to update their Will,  lawyers are advising clients on how to overcome the impact of social distancing of getting their Wills witnessed by two suitable people.  James Ward and Diva Shah's recent blog on the subject has been  referred to in an article from This is Money.

 

Kingsley Napley reports that Will enquiries are up by a third in the coronavirus crisis. It is sending out wills to clients so they can make their own arrangements with suitable witnesses while maintaining a safe distance as far as possible.

The difficulty is assessing what a safe distance is, particularly if you are vulnerable and are self-isolating, while satisfying the requirements of executing a valid will."

Some of their suggestions for overcoming this challenge are: 

 Sitting at a park bench with witnesses at adjacent benches, and rotating so each approaches the park bench individually to witness the will;

Getting neighbours to witness and sign the will from the safety of their own gardens;

Standing on your doorstep whilst your witnesses stand on the pavement, but depending on how isolated you are required to be, there is a risk in transporting the will;

Keeping on opposite sides of the same room, but the safety of doing this depends on its size and the vulnerability of the individuals involved."

The full article on This is Money can be read here.

James and Diva's blog can be read here:  Coronavirus and the perils of signing your Will

About the authors

James Ward heads the Private Client team at Kingsley Napley and is tasked with overseeing the continued development of the private client offering for both existing and new clients of the firm. His objective is for the Private Client team to offer the highest quality legal, practical and commercial private client advice for both domestic and international families and individuals.

Diva Shah is an associate in our Private Client team. Diva acts for various clients including high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs, executors, trustees and individuals who lack mental capacity on a broad range of matters

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