As the pandemic continues, local law firms have reported a huge surge in the number of people wanting to write their wills.
As the Law Society attempts to put pressure on the Government to relax the rules about witnessing wills, local lawyers have been innovative in meeting the demand for new wills, or the updating of existing ones.
Donna Bothamley, Head of Wills and Probate at Leamington solicitors Blythe Liggins, is one of those introducing news way of getting the document signed, whilst observing strict social distancing.
She said: “A global pandemic certainly concentrates the mind, so it’s not surprising that we are seeing a huge increase in the number of people seeking our help.
“The difficulty is that wills have to be signed in front of two witnesses, who must then also sign the document – which is tricky when following demands for social distancing. We’ve actually had clients and witnesses signing wills on a car bonnet outside our offices, or sitting on the bench we have provided.
“The initial contact can be made by telephone or email and then instructions can be given over video calls. We can then arrange for the will to be signed at our office, where we will arrange safe social distancing. Alternatively, if they are self-isolating, we can arrange for the will to be signed at home with two neighbours, acting as witnesses, looking over the garden fence – at a safe social distance – or through a window.”
Mrs Bothamley said there is also a sharp rise in the number of people setting up Powers of Attorney documents, in case they become ill and required a family member or someone else to manage their affairs.
CAPTION: Donna Bothamley, Partner and Head of Wills & Probate