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    2 April 2020

    Coronavirus: Wills and Probate Frequently Asked Questions

    During these uncertain times of Covid-19, many people are wondering how they can make a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney.

    The following Coronavirus: Wills and Probate FAQs article aims to answer some of your concerns on these and other important issues.

    Q. Can I make or update my Will during the current lockdown?

    A. Yes! We appreciate that the current circumstances have left many thinking about their affairs and we have therefore adapted our usual practices in line with the current Government guidance, allowing us to conduct meetings via phone or video link using Skype and Zoom. Your Will can then be drafted by a member of the team and sent to you for your approval via email or post where email is not possible.

    Q. Can I sign my Will electronically or can my witnesses watch me sign my Will via video link?

    A. Unfortunately not, although the current Will signing requirements are under review. The current legislation does not allow for Wills to be signed electronically or for Wills to be witnessed via video link. A Will must be signed in the physical presence of two witnesses who must also sign in the physical presence of the person making the Will.

    Please see our article regarding signing and witnessing your Will during the Coronavirus lockdown.

    Q. Can you notify banks and other institutions about the death of an individual?

    A. We are still able to correspond with financial institutions and the online Death Notification service allows us to easily notify many banks and building societies. Some institutions also provide online or telephone notification services. The Government Tell Us Once Service which notifies Government institutions such as HMRC and DWP is also available once the death has been registered.

    Q. Can I complete a Lasting Power of Attorney during the lockdown?

    A. Yes. Again, as with Wills, we are able to take your instructions via phone or video link. We can then send the Lasting Power of Attorney documents to you for signature via email or post. You will still need a witness when signing the document, as will your attorneys. We are able to complete the capacity certificate remotely.

    Q. Is it a good idea to have an Advanced Decision in light of Covid-19?

    A. An Advance Decision is a legally binding document that allows you to specify particular kinds of treatment that you do not wish to receive, in case you lack capacity in the future to make this decision personally.  The benefit of making an Advance Decision now is that if at some future time you are physically or mentally unable to tell your doctors what you want, your wishes are already clear. An Advance Decision can help your family, friends and the medical profession with difficult decisions about medical treatment, as they will know what your wishes are.

    If you would like us to prepare a Will for you, please complete our Will Planner providing us with all your basic personal details and email probate@steeleslaw.co.uk. This means we’re fully prepared ahead of our initial meeting, and we can create your Will as easy as possible.

    If you would like to speak to a member of our specialist Wills, Trusts and Probate team about our Coronavirus: Wills and Probate FAQs, please do not hesitate to contact us on probate@steeleslaw.co.uk or 01379 652141.

    *The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.


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