In answer to your concerns and to clear up any myths, regarding the process of making or amending a Will, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, Edward Judge, Partner at Risdon Hosegood Solicitors and specialist Will writer, shares frequently asked questions and his responses.
Why should I make a Will?
Death is in many ways a taboo subject, but by making a Will and leaving your affairs in good order, you are helping your family when it will be most difficult for them. By making a Will you can say who will receive money or possessions and how you would like your funeral conducted.
Are Wills only for the elderly?
If you have young children, you may wish to appoint guardians to look after them, plan for their future and leave money or property in trust.
What if I don't make a Will?
Without a Will your estate is dealt with under Intestacy Rules. This could mean that your estate may ultimately pass to family members you have never even met or who you would not wish to benefit from your estate.
Can I still make a Will during the lockdown or when I am self-isolating?
Yes, we are here to help. Where possible we will conduct meetings over the telephone or via Zoom. Once we have your instructions we will confirm these in writing and send you a draft will for review.
I already have a Will – Do I need to make a new one?
This depends on whether your circumstances have changed. If your last will was made 20 years ago and your children have since then grown up and flown the nest or your financial circumstances have changed then you should certainly review your will as it may no longer reflect your wishes and your circumstances.
Do I need to use a Solicitor?
No. There is nothing stopping you from making a will by yourself. However, mistakes in homemade wills are not uncommon. We frequently deal with homemade wills which have gone wrong leaving beneficiaries disappointed and facing the prospect of lengthy and expensive litigation.
What about inheritance tax?
Inheritance tax is a complex area and understanding whether your estate will be subject to inheritance tax and what allowances are available is important. We are happy to help answer any queries.
Does my Will still need to be signed and be witnessed when I am self-isolating?
Yes, to make a Will legally binding, it must be signed in front of two witnesses. They must be independent and not beneficiaries under the Will.
Risdon Hosegood have come up with quite a few creating ways for this to be achieved, including having a vulnerable testatrix in self-isolation, sign her Will in the window, with two witnesses outside watching her.
The Will was then passed through the letter box and signed by the witnesses with the testatrix watching them through the window. Extra care was taken to ensure her safety, including sanitising of hands by the witnesses, who also wore gloves and used their own pens.
Read More information about Wills and Probate here: