Wills during lockdown

Ian Macdonald

Published by
Ian Macdonald

29th April 2020

By putting a Will in place, you are able to effectively manage your affairs and make preparations for the future. Wills need not deal only with the distribution of your assets; they can be also used to address matters such as appointing a guardian for any young children you may have, to establish a trust to protect assets of beneficiaries or to make your wishes clear for funeral arrangements.

In light of recent Government instructions to remain indoors and to avoid contact with others, you may have concerns about whether you are able to have a Will drafted during this time, or have an existing Will updated.

At Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP, we want to reassure our clients that we are here to help during these uncertain times. In light of current circumstances, we are monitoring the situation closely and adapting our usual ways of working in order to deliver the level of service expected by our clients.

The Law Society of Scotland has recently published guidance (https://www.lawscot.org.uk/news-and-events/law-society-news/coronavirus-updates/) on the preparation of Wills during this period of lockdown. This guidance provides new ways in which we may continue to serve our clients by providing and amending their Wills, without the need for a face-to-face meeting.

Dependent on circumstances, we are able to take instructions for Wills by letter, email, phone or using video-conferencing services such as Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. If we have not met you or dealt with you before, we will need to have at least one “meeting” by video to confirm your wishes before we can prepare a will for you.

In normal circumstances, signatures on Wills require to be witnessed by an independent witness. This is of course may cause concern for those self-isolating alone. A witness does not actually need to see you sign and certainly does not need to know what the document is or what it says – it is sufficient if you show the witness the document you have signed, confirm that the signature is yours and ask them to sign as witness. One of our clients recently had their will witnessed by the supermarket delivery driver!

If you are looking to have a Will prepared or an existing Will updated and would like further advice regarding the options available to you during this time, please contact our Private Client team who will be happy to advise you.

If you wish to discuss your Will, or have any questions regarding the process set out above, our Private Client team would be delighted to help you. Please call 0141 248 3434 or email privateclient@wjm.co.uk

The information contained in this newsletter is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of relevant law and practice as at April 2020. Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP cannot be held responsible for any action taken or not taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be taken on any individual matter. Transmissions to or from our email system and calls to or from our offices may be monitored and/or recorded for regulatory purposes. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 302 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5RZ. A limited liability partnership registered in Scotland, number SO 300336.