Virus Causes Spike in Will-Related Enquiries

As more people are required to stay in their homes, many are choosing to spend time doing those life admin tasks that they wouldn’t normally get around to. It seems one of those tasks is writing a will as the Law Society has reported a 30% increase on the usual number of requests to write or update a will as more people go into isolation.

From 23rd March 2020, the Government advised everyone to stay in their homes unless absolutely necessary and avoid face to face contact for the next three weeks. According to the Law Society, a number of elderly and vulnerable are taking the chance to “put their affairs in order” as they were fearful about the risk of the virus.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Law Society’s Wills and Equity Committee Chair, Ian Bond, said that there had been a big increase in the number of enquiries from the elderly and vulnerable in the past month of around 30%. However, as wills need to be signed by two witnesses in person, the current isolation rules are making this difficult.

For those still wanting to go ahead with any changes or planned drafting of wills due to being seriously ill or at risk, should be made aware of the consequences of going ahead. Normal precautions with the execution of wills, such as a solicitor or doctor being present to verify mental capacity and that there is no undue pressure by third parties, may not be available leaving the will open to challenge.

Many solicitors are working hard to ensure that wills are still validated given the current circumstances and appreciate that it might not be possible to delay the updating or drafting of a will. In those instances, any witnesses should follow Government advice by remaining a safe distance away and taking appropriate care with pens, paper and handwashing in case of contamination.

Please note that it might be necessary for you to re-sign or re-validate your will once the current problems subside.

As a reminder, any wills completed online via DIY toolkits or other methods are best avoided. More often than not, these do not provide a quick fix and in the long run, could cause more upset and confusion among family members.

If you would like some advice relating to your will, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.


Amber O’Connor

Amber O’Connor

Partner

Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502290

Office: Dorking

Email: a.oconnor@downslaw.co.uk