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Making a will during Covid-19

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Covid-19 has seen a significant increase in people taking control of their affairs, notably making wills or updating ones that are already in place.

Here, we outline the process of making a will during the current pandemic.

Giving instructions and drafting the will

Making a will at present is a little more complex than usual, given the necessity to ensure safety by abiding by government measures surrounding social distancing. Pre-pandemic, our clients would attend our offices in person and give their instructions to the solicitor making the will. As this is no longer practicable, Lavelle Partners have measures for taking instructions remotely. This can be done by email, over the phone, by post, or over a video-conferencing tool like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

Once instructions have been taken, a will can be drafted and sent to the client for review. The draft can be altered and amended, and then when the client approves the final draft, we can proceed to execution of the will.

Guidelines surrounding the correct execution of a will follow stringent rules governed by the Succession Act 1965. For a will to be valid, it must be:

  • In writing;
  • Signed by the testator (the person who’s will is being signed) at the foot of the page;
  • Witnessed by at least two witnesses;
  • Witnessed in the presence of the testator.

Successfully executing a will while adhering to social distancing rules

We’ve successfully executed a significant number of wills since social distancing regulations came into place in March. For most, we’ve followed some of the following steps:

  • A testator can sign the will in view of the witnesses without being in the same room. This can be done in an office, at a large boardroom table so long as social distancing measures can be adhered to or;
  • If at a person’s residence, it can be done through a window, or from one room into the next through an open door. Again, social distancing measures will always be adhered to;
  • When the testator has signed in sight of witnesses, the will can be placed into an enveloped and given to the witnesses to sign, again, the testator and the second witness must be present;
  • Another alternative for executing a will while maintaining a safe distance, is to sign a will on the bonnet of a car, or at an outside table.

The Law Society have published guidelines on executing wills, which we always adhere to. These can be accessed here.

If you have any queries regarding you will, if you’d like to make one or if you have any queries related to wills, probate or estate planning, please contact us on 01 644 5800.