Signing your Will remotely

Signing a Will during Covid?

The process of witnessing a Will is something that hasn’t changed in almost 200 years.

And clients often assume they can’t finalise their documents during lockdown because they can’t have an appropriate person in the room with them.
Happily, the law has embraced the new normal and that is no longer the case…

Preparation of Wills is governed by the Wills Act of 1837, that’s when Queen Victoria was just 18 years old.

In legal terms, the Victorians did a great job and the Act hadn’t been updated because it didn’t need to be, until now.
The challenges of a global pandemic has brought some traditions into sharp focus, and a review of what many things that were considered sacrosanct.
Jobs that absolutely had to be done in the office are now being successfully executed from home, medical appointments that simply must be face-to-face are now conducted via video call; people have embraced new practices in all walks of life. The legal profession has also looked at how we prepare and execute wills to see how normal practice could continue despite the restrictions, with the Law Society issuing new guidance and the government changing the law with regards the signing of Wills remotely.  We were quick to implement new technology to help clients in a number of ways. Not only do video calls allow us to ‘meet’ face-to-face with clients, allowing us to build and maintain really positive relationships with them, it also lets us undertake the legal function of signing documents.

People who are shielding, self-isolating or just being extra cautious can still instruct us for their Will and have it witnessed remotely during Covid restrictions. Once the Will is drawn up and is ready to be signed, we post it to you and set up a video call. Your witnesses can simply be on that video call, with someone from Vincents for added reassurance.

We will provide guidance about the steps which need to be taken to ensure legality, and will record the call so that we have evidence of it being done correctly which can be presented in the event of a challenge. We will also oversee the subsequent signatures of the witnesses and record all of the relevant video calls, and manage the transportation of documents between parties using a secure courier service.

The biggest challenge is, of course ensuring the client has access to and is able to use video calling. If they don’t have the tech or confidence to use it, and there is no family member or carer available to provide practical support, we can complete the majority of the process using regular telephone calls and prepare the Will to be signed as soon as restrictions are lifted. Or, as Wills witnessed through a window are also acceptable by law, we could advise on how to do it this way.
So if you are isolated and feeling worried about not being able to update or obtain a Will, please don’t struggle alone. There’s lots we can do to help you, and we will make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible.

You can reach me by email or calling the office on 01772 555 172