How to prepare the documents you need for your will during lockdown
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Since the lockdown began, enquiries for wills and lasting power of attorneys have increased dramatically as we try to plan for the future during this uncertain time.
But with social distancing measures in place, working out how you can prepare the documents you need and who can be your witness, can be a challenge.
We spoke to Susanne Grimwade of Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors who explains how you can complete the paperwork you’ll need for your will online.
Q: Can I write my will online?
Yes. We’ve joined forces with Bequeathed – an online will writing service, to help clients that want to create a will online. You can complete the process from the comfort of your home, in your own time. However, signature of your will cannot be completed online. Your will must still be printed and signed in the presence of two witnesses.
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Q: Who can witness my will?
Your witnesses must be independent, i.e. not related to you and not mentioned in your will. They should be over the age of 18 and have mental capacity. Obvious choices for witnesses might be friends, neighbours or work colleagues.
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Q: How much does it cost to make a will?
The cost of preparing your will online with Bequeathed is free. If you need any advice as you move through the online process, you can get in touch with a member of our team. We’ll be there to support you every step of the way.
Q: Can I write my own will?
I’d recommend using the Bequeathed service if your will is simple and your estate easy to manage but of course, not everyone’s affairs are straightforward, and you may require a more bespoke service.
We can help you find the most tax-efficient way to set up your will to avoid paying more inheritance tax than you need to, and we can offer help to those worried about vulnerable family members to make life easier for you and your loved ones.
Our online package can detect if you could benefit from added legal services like help with long-term care planning, appointing a lasting power of attorney or receiving financial advice. We can then direct you to the relevant team.
Q: What should I expect from the first meeting with my solicitor?
We’ll get you to send us some information regarding your assets and finances before your first meeting, along with any concerns you have about your will and the final wishes you’d like to put in place.
This way we can get to know you and ensure we make your first meeting a productive one.
Q: How long will it take to set up my will?
It will take 45 minutes for you to complete the process. Our online service is easy-to-use and particularly useful for those that have never written a will.
We’ll tell you what documents and identification you need and breakdown any complicated jargon to make the process easy to follow and understand.
Once you have completed your part, we aim to finish writing your will within two weeks of first receiving your instructions, though in many cases it’s much quicker than this.
Q: Why is now a good time to write my will?
Sadly, the events of COVID-19 have made us all think more about the future and supporting our families, even after we’re gone.
While making a will is not the most pleasant of experiences, you can feel an overwhelming sense of relief once it’s done knowing that your affairs are in order and that you can provide financial security for the loved ones you leave behind.
Q: Will solicitors stay open during lockdown?
For the safety of our staff and clients, we’ve closed our offices, but we continue to work remotely from home and deliver our services to those in need. You can make an appointment with us over the phone or online.