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Technology Aids Will Writing During Pandemic

View profile for Joanne Jones
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A wave of new tech has swept through the UK legal system as audio and video technology has become the new ‘norm’ during the coronavirus outbreak and our legal advisers who have been helping clients draw up Wills have embraced the change.

Solicitors acting in connection with the execution of Wills are classed as key workers and, with all our staff now working from home, we can take instructions over the phone. We can also help clients get these very important documents signed and finalised by providing advice and assistance that complies with the social distancing rules.

“It’s been a challenging time but we’ve all quickly adapted,” said Head of Private Client, Joanne Jones.  “Now our initial appointments are via skype, Zoom or FaceTime, and to us this is like being face to face.  Clients do not need to worry about the authenticity of the process as we can assess capacity, ensure nobody else is present (important for proving no undue influence) and confirm identification in this way.” 

Signing and witnessing of documents must be done in person – so out in the open at a distance -  and Pearson are advising all clients accordingly, including our business will clients. It is still possible to achieve this in line with the Government’s social distancing rules. 

“Clients can call upon neighbours or friends (who, if they live together, can go out in a small group – you only need two witnesses for the Wills and one witness for the Powers of Attorney) and arrange a meeting in your garden, or on your street or driveway,” added Joanne.

“Everyone should stand at least two metres apart, use their own pens, wear protectives gloves and wash their hands before and after handling papers.  The documents should be placed on a flat surface, such as a table or car bonnet, with each person stepping forward separately to sign.  Some people are also arranging signings through windows again, wearing gloves and keeping their distance.”

Your Will is only valid if two witnesses watch you, and then each other, sign it. They must also sign the Will but do not need to read it. Your witnesses must:

  • be over 18
  • not be your beneficiaries
  • not be your beneficiaries’ spouses or civil partners

 

For advice on all aspects of Wills, Powers of Attorney and Coronavirus issues check out our legal updates or call our team on 0161 785 3500

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.