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On the 23rd March 2020, the Government advised that people should practice social distancing, and should stay at home to minimise the risk of spreading the Coronavirus.
In accordance with stay at home advice, our Southampton office is currently closed. This means we are no longer meeting clients face-to-face, but we are continuing to assist clients in creating and updating their Wills, including signing if required.
Having an up-to-date Will ensures that your loved ones are able to look after and distribute your property and understand your wishes upon your death.
The uncertainty and severity of the pandemic may cause you to think about writing, or updating your Will.
Usually, we attend to Wills through face-to-face meetings in order to assess a client’s capacity, and to ensure that the Will is correctly signed and witnessed so that it is binding in accordance with the Wills Act 1837. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible due to the current restrictions imposed.
We are still offering free initial consultations and meetings for existing clients over video call apps, such as Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. This will allow us to advise you as to your next steps, and for you to instruct us clearly. We will send your Will to you to execute at home. If it cannot be executed at home then we will make arrangements for it to be executed in a safe environment.
At present, Wills can only be signed by hand, and witnessed by two people that are not related to you by blood or marriage. They can be witnessed by friends or neighbours if they are not a beneficiary in the Will. Wills cannot be signed electronically, or witnessed by people in your own household.
We recommend that Wills are still signed and witnessed in the usual way, however, social distancing and Government Advice must be followed by all parties. We recommend asking a healthy, non-vulnerable neighbour to witness and sign your Will, but that a distance of two meters must be kept at all times.
We are still able to assist with drafting and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney. The process of execution is similar to how Wills are executed with the signatures having to be witnessed.
We are committed to offering a helping hand during these difficult times. For further advice or information on Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney, please call our office on 02380 713060 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment with a solicitor.
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