Coronavirus update: Video-witnessed Wills - what do I need to know?
On 25 July it hit the headlines that video-witnessed Wills will be legalised. The government is set to introduce secondary legislation, amending Wills Act 1837 so that, while Wills must continue to be signed ‘in the presence’ of two witnesses, their presence can be either physical or virtual.
Coronavirus - Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Coronavirus has particularly highlighted the importance of putting arrangements in place, should the worst happen. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of people wanting to make Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in the event that their capacity becomes impaired.
It has generally been recognised within the medical and legal sectors that personal representatives of a deceased person were entitled to disclosure of the deceased’s medical records in any circumstances with other individuals only having the right to such disclosure if they had a claim which may arise out of the patient’s death.
Homemade D.I.Y Wills: Why you shouldn’t ‘Do It Yourself’ even during the pandemic
D.I.Y Wills are cheap and easy to find, making them an attractive option for those who may not wish to incur the expense of legal fees by involving a solicitor, or discuss personal family matters such a family breakdowns.
In this article, Meg Manganaro of Boyes Turner’s Wealth Protection team and Ally Tow, a Senior Associate specialising in Dispute Resolution and Contentious Probate disputes, discuss some of the practical solutions to executing a will during the time of social distancing as well as the possible risks and disputes that can arise as a result of invalid will execution.
While the whole of the country is doing their bit to fight the coronavirus threat, we recognise that it is our NHS staff, emergency services and healthcare workers who are out on the front line keeping us safe during this uncertain time.
How can you witness a Will in the time of Coronavirus?
The coronavirus is an unprecedented and fast-moving crisis which has understandably led to many wanting to put a Will in place. Currently, for a Will to be valid it must be signed by both the testator and two independent witnesses. As the pandemic continues to intensify and with government measures becoming stricter, some may face practical difficulties adhering to the witness formalities required to validly execute a Will.
Among reports of the pandemic, there has also been a reported jump in the number of requests for the drafting of Wills and Powers of Attorney, with Ian Bond TEP, chair of the Law Society's wills and equity committee, recently announcing an increase in enquiries of this nature of 30%.