Due to the current spread of Coronavirus we have found that more people are making a Will for the first time or updating their existing Will. However, the social distancing rule has made it more difficult for people to sign a Will in front of two independent witnesses. This part of the process is essential to get right to ensure that the Will is valid.
Dating back 200 years, the law requires a Will to be signed by the person making the Will in the presence of two independent witnesses. Although the Law Society have requested that the government look into relaxing these rules during these unprecedented times, we are still faced with the logistics of implementing the signing to ensure its legality and that it will not be challenged in court.
Some of our clients have overcome this by arranging for neighbours to witness the signing of a Will over a fence or even on a car bonnet. As long as all three people are present in the same place at the same time it does not matter how far apart they are so long as they have clear sight of the process. The witnesses are simply there to witness the signature.
It is essential that all three of you (you and your two witnesses) are in each other’s presence until the Will is fully signed. The Will should not be witnessed by a beneficiary or by the husband, wife or civil partner of a beneficiary otherwise any gift to them will be invalid. We would recommend each person uses their own pen and washes their hands before and after the process.
At Gardner Leader we have already witnessed a number of Wills in peoples gardens, car bonnets and through the kitchen window. We are determined to offer our clients peace of mind and we will do everything to ensure that each client will be able to sign their own Will in the presence of two witnesses. Please contact one of our team if you have any questions and we will be very happy to help.
Our team are successfully working remotely during this time and are continuing to make Wills and update existing Wills for people who are self-isolating. If you or one of your loved ones are interested in making a Will please click here.