Making a Will during the Covid-19 UK lockdown

how to make a Will during Coronavirus lockdown
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The Redwood guide to making a Will during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The significant increase in death rates experienced across the country since the start of the pandemic has driven a sharp rise in the demand for new and updated Wills. With the successive lockdowns and tier levels came the challenge of having these vital documents signed and witnessed in a safe, secure and legal way. Up until the spring of 2019, all signings had to be completed physically in the presence of two independent Witnesses.

In direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Government brought in a change to the legislation to allow Wills and other critical Estate Planning documents to be signed and witnessed remotely via a video conference call.

Starting in September 2020, the Ministry of Justice amended the law to facilitate this new process which will be in place for 2 years or until it is no longer needed and we are out of the COVID-19 crisis.

How can you make a Will during Covid-19?

With many people either shielding or restricted from leaving their homes, we are often asked how a Will can be drafted during the Covid 19 pandemic and Lockdown. Will Writing & Estate Planning are classed as essential businesses, authorised to continue trading and providing a service throughout these difficult times.

At Redwood, we have constantly adapted throughout the Coronavirus crisis, including the approach we take to support people across England and Wales in making a Will during Lockdown. (Scotland, Northern Ireland and The Isle of Man have their own legislative requirements and you should consult a local authorised and regulated professional practitioner).

We have launched an Online Will Writing Service to enable Clients to draft their Will from the comfort and safety of their own home, while still offering a full checking, approving, printing service to those who want and need that added security and confidence that the Will they have produced is correct, valid and legally binding.

We now offer telephone or video meetings for those Clients who still prefer that human interaction, help and guidance, where we can work with them to create the right Will to meet their needs, goals and aspirations, while maintaining social distancing.

Changing a Will during a Coronavirus Lockdown

The process for making changes to a Will during a Coronavirus Lockdown has also been adapted to support social distancing for Clients based in England and Wales.

We are delighted to offer a 30 minute Complimentary telephone or video call Will Review Meeting, which provides an opportunity for you to have your Will and any other existing Estate Planning documents comprehensively reviewed by one of our professional expert Advisers.

Find out why a Will Review Meeting is so important, watch our short video here:

Sometimes, it can be simpler and more cost effective to update your existing Will by writing a new one. This can be done from as little as £49 inc. VAT through our Online Will Writing Service (learn more here).

You will be guided through a simple drafting process and when you are happy with your Will and have paid, you Will is emailed to you to print and have signed. For a small additional fee, we also offer a checking service and a print and mailing service where required.

For those people who have a more complex Estate Plan, or who just prefer to interact with a member of the Redwood team, our virtual video or telephone meetings will put you in direct contact with one of our expert Advisors to ensure your needs, goals and aspirations are executed, while maintaining social distancing.

Witnessing a Will during a Covid Lockdown

Anyone choosing to make their Wills Online, will receive a set of comprehensive signing instructions that must be complied with to ensure their Will is both legal and valid. This will include ensuring that two witnesses are present when the document is signed by the Will creator (Testator).

The people chosen to be the two witnesses must sign the Will themselves in the presence of the Testator to make this a legal and valid document. The advantage here is that you can set up and agree your own social distancing requirements between you all to ensure everyone’s safety during a Lockdown.

For Clients who choose to use our expert Advisor services, we offer three options to support the signing and witness process of their new or updated Wills:

  • A Video Conferencing Signing Meeting
  • A Doorstep Signing Meeting
  • An ‘In Office’ Signing Meeting (In exceptional circumstances only and when the first two options cannot practically be achieved)

The safety of our Clients and the Redwood Team is paramount and we have developed a number of robust options and processes to ensure that whichever meeting type you choose, it is conducted in the most Covid secure manner.

Video Conference Signing Meetings

The principles governing the signing and witnessing a Will through a video call are broadly mirror those applicable to an in person signing process. Two independent non beneficiary witnesses must be present and the Will has to be signed in real time, so a recorded video message would not be valid.

To reduce the risk of fraud or undue influence being perpetrated against the Wills Testator and to ensure a valid execution of the signing process, strict and detailed procedures must be followed. These include:

  • Having a clear line of sight and constant audibility to one another from the start and throughout the process.
  • The person making the Will must show the witnesses the front page of the Will and the page they are going to sign and the witnesses must see them sign
  • An electronic signature is not valid. A ‘wet signature’ is required to ensure the Will is legally binding. As soon as practical after the Will Testator has signed their Will on the video call, they must post the Will to the Witnesses for signing. Once received, the Witnesses must then arrange video calls with the Will Testator for them to see the Witnesses sign. Unless the Witnesses are together, the process will need to be repeated with each attesting Witness. The process should also be recorded, wherever possible to do so.
  • If Redwood are acting as the Witnesses, we will record the meetings and email these to your to you for your records.

Doorstep Signing Meetings

Doorstep Signing Meetings are completed under the strictest social distancing principles to ensure the absolute safety of of our Clients, their Witnesses and our team member. These include:

  • The meeting will have a prearranged date and timeslot.
  • Our team will call ahead to make sure everyone is going to be in attendance and to ask if anyone is displaying any Covid symptoms. If the answer is yes, the meeting will be rescheduled.
  • Our attending team will sanitise their hands, wear masks and shields at all times, as well as maintaining a social distance of at least 2 meters.
  • Clients and any other persons present will also be required to wear a do likewise for the meeting to progress.
  • Documents that require signing will be handed over on a sanitised clipboard.
  • Each party must use their own pens for signing.
  • The documents must remain in clear sight of all parties at all times and it must be clear for all. parties to see the documents being physically signed.
  • Redwood will maintain a record of the meeting and its attendees. Should anyone from the Redwood team who either attending the signing meeting, or who has interacted with those attending in the previous 5 days, we have a legal obligation to report this contact to the NHS Track & Trace Team who may in turn contact you.

In Office Signing Meetings

Where it is agreed by both parties that the only option is to hold an In Office Signing Meeting, these again will be conducted in the most Covid secure way. This includes:

are completed under the strictest social distancing principles to ensure the absolute safety of of our Clients, their Witnesses and our team member. These include:

  • During a full Lockdown, these meetings will be conducted on the doorstep threshold to our offices and not inside the physical building
  • Where restrictions allow, the people involved in the signing process will be allowed inside the office. A dedicated area will be used to ensure social distancing can be maintained
  • The meeting will have a prearranged date and timeslot.
  • Our team will call ahead to make sure everyone is going to be in attendance and to ask if anyone is displaying any Covid symptoms. If the answer is yes, the meeting will be rescheduled.
  • Our team will conduct a temperature test on all attendees prior to admission into the building. If one of the attending party has a temperature is is displaying any symptoms associated with Covid, the meeting will be terminated and rescheduled. No one from the attending party will be admitted to the building for any reason.
  • Our attending team will sanitise their hands, wear masks and shields at all times, as well as maintaining a social distance of at least 2 meters.
  • Clients and any other persons present will also be required to wear a do likewise for the meeting to progress.
  • Documents that require signing will be handed over on a sanitised clipboard.
  • Each party must use their own pens for signing.
  • The documents must remain in clear sight of all parties at all times and it must be clear for all parties to see the documents being physically signed.
  • The Redwood Team will ensure everything is ready for this meeting so that it can be conducted as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimise they time spent in the office.
  • Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer refreshments of the use of our toilet facilities during this difficult period.
  • Redwood will maintain a record of the meeting and its attendees. Should anyone from the Redwood Team who either attending the signing meeting, or who has interacted with those attending in the previous 5 days, we have a legal obligation to report this contact to the NHS Track & Trace Team who may in turn contact you.

Why use Redwood Financial for your Online Will?

At Redwood Financial we believe everyone should have access to affordable, professional, valid and legally binding Wills, that protect them and their beneficiaries, regardless of their Estate Value. And it is this philosophy that has become even more important to our Clients given the current rapid growth in death rates as a result of the pandemic.

We often state at our Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning Seminars that we never know what is waiting round the corner for us. It is very unlikely any of us saw Coronavirus coming at as in the way that it has in the last year. Taking action before it is too late is one of the biggest messages we endorse.

With years of experience in crafting Wills, Trusts & Estate Plans, we are now making it even easier for people to access our award-winning expertise in Will creation.

Our Online Will Service has been developed to the same exacting standards and legal compliance as our award-winning personal advice service. We care deeply about your personal data and you will have secure access to Redwood Wills Online through your own personalised username and password.

Our Online Will Writing Service is the most cost effective and fastest way to create a Basic Will to protect you and your loved ones. Starting from just £49 inc. VAT, these Wills are created in under 30 minutes on average by the hundreds of Clients who have already signed up for the service.

There are many good reasons to make a Will, but here are our favourites as to why you should. If you’d like to know more, call us on 01489 877 547 or you can request a call back here.

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Jasmine Lambert Will Writer in Eastleigh
Jasmine Lambert

Jasmine is the Managing Director and Senior Financial Planner at Redwood Financial. She helps clients manage and grow their wealth and protect their estate. You can read more about Jasmine in her personal biography.

Redwood Financial is one of the south’s leading Investments, Pensions, Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning providers and we are dedicated to helping families to grow, protect and enjoy their wealth. With our unrivalled knowledge of Estate Planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Probate, Pensions, Savings & Investments, we can advise on any situation.
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