A Cheshire-based wills and probate firm of solicitors has provided advice and guidance for people updating or preparing new Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney during COVID-19.
Watsons Solicitors, based on Bold Street in Warrington, is adhering to government guidelines and has introduced telephone and video conferencing as an alternative to face-to-face meetings.
Alex Mitchell, partner and member of the probate department at the law firm, says there are a number of options available and also confirmed that legal documents produced by Watsons during the coronavirus are still valid and protect a client’s family.
She said: “With social distancing, face-to-face appointments at our offices have not been possible.
“This impacts on our ability to undertake appropriate identification checks and to assess capacity and the presence of any undue influence. We are also unable to provide two witnesses, whose physical presence is required when a Will is signed in order for it to be valid under the Wills Act.
“In order to deal with these challenges, we have offered appointments via telephone and video conferencing, but taking extra precautions to ensure that the instructions are given freely and with full capacity.
“We are making comprehensive attendance notes to ensure that if the validity of legal documents is subsequently challenged, then appropriate evidence is available.
“In terms of the execution of Wills, we are sending the same to clients for signing away from our office, with detailed instructions and guidance on how they can be signed whilst still observing social distancing rules.
“This can be done, for example, by signing Wills inside the house, but with two witnesses watching from outside through the window, whilst maintaining a safe distance from one another if they are not from the same household.”
If anyone has any questions about their Will or Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact Alex via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01925 578 778.
Alex, who joined Watsons in 2007 and became a partner in 2013, specialises in Probate, Wills, Trusts and all aspects of private client work, having a particular interest in Advising the Elderly.