Have you been considering making a will or a set of enduring powers of attorney? Many people are using their unexpected spare time during the lockdown to get up to date on the paperwork they might otherwise not have time to complete.

You may be concerned that it will be difficult to sign this documentation given the current restrictions, but in fact, the opposite is true.

In these unprecedented times, we are working with the Law Society and indeed the legal profession as a whole to ensure that your legal needs can still be met in almost the same way as we could before the lockdown began.

The recent modification order on signing wills has ensured that wills are valid when they are signed and witnessed via an audiovisual link.

In this article, we will take you through our straightforward and painless process step by step on how we create your documentation and get it signed within the restrictions of COVID-19 lockdown.

  1. Our first step is always to discuss with you what you would like to see in the documentation and what your circumstances are. This can easily be done on a phone call (in fact this was often the case even before lockdown) or we can also use your choice of video call if you would prefer to see us as we discuss.
  2. We then email you the drafts so you can see what they will look like and check that we have completed all the details correctly.
  3. Once you have checked the drafts, we update them and amend them if needed.
  4. We then send you the final documents.
  5. When the final documents are to your satisfaction, we then arrange a meeting using your choice of video calling where you will need to print out the documents and then we provide you with our advice and witness your signatures in a similar way to how we would do so in person over the video call. You will need to move your camera or hold up the documents to the camera so we can make sure that you are signing the document we expect and then you scan the signed document to us immediately following the meeting and we sign the witnessing part.
  6. We will be able to arrange a courier to deliver documentation for execution from Tuesday 28 April, when we return to COVID-19 Level 3 if you do not have access to a printer.

If you do not have the ability to print documents or complete video calling, we have options for that as well:

  1. Once we email you the final drafts, you simply reply to our email confirming that the drafts are to your satisfaction and that you would sign them if you could.
  2. In the case of wills, that means that if you were to die before your will is signed properly, we can make an application to the court to validate the will as if it had been signed because we have the will and we have your email proving it was your intention to sign it.
  3. In the case of enduring powers of attorney, if you were to lose mental capacity before the enduring powers of attorney are signed properly, we can make an application to the Family Court for a property manager and welfare guardian to be appointed for you based on your wishes as set out in the unsigned enduring power of attorney that you have approved by email.

These non-video calling options are not as good as the options that allow for the document to be signed by video calling in that we can never be absolutely sure that any court application will succeed (even when, as in these cases, we have a very good case) and all court applications are more expensive than the original documents, but still they represent an option at a time where options are often limited.

For More Information

If you would like to know more about wills and enduring powers of attorney, you can read our recent article setting out the basics you need to know here.

If you would like to make a will or a set of enduring powers of attorney, get in touch with our trust and estates specialists today on 04 472 0020 or send us an email.

COVID-19 - Signing Wills and EPAs | JB Morrison Lawyers