COVID-19: An update on our Wills & Probate services

As the government ‘unlocks’ England and lifts social distancing measures, you may be wondering how this affects our Wills & Probate services.

Our Wills & Probate team are classed as ‘key workers’ and will do everything in their power to assist you during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Has the pandemic changed the way in which you work?

Yes. We are continuing to provide a ‘contactless’ service as we understand our clients may be nervous about face-to-face contact for some time.

What is the process for making a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

We can advise on making a Will or creating an LPA via phone, email, video call and/or face-to-face appointment, according to your preferences. Once we have received your final instructions, we will then send draft documents to you for your review. We would suggest that once you have received the draft, you again contact us by telephone in order that we can go through this with you, ensure the documents are correct and that you fully understand them. We will then send you the final documents for you to sign with comprehensive instructions on how to sign and have your signature witnessed. You can call us when you are doing so in case you have any questions during the process. Should you prefer, we can make arrangements to see you at our offices for this purpose.

Can I book an appointment to see a lawyer?

Yes. Our offices are now open by appointment only – please call 0113 201 4900 if you’d like to make a booking. We are requesting that clients wear a face covering inside our offices as well as observe the sanitization and social distancing guidelines. For more information, please read our coronavirus strategy.

Who can I ask to witness my signature?

Our team can now witness your signature at our offices – please call 0113 201 4900 to make an appointment.

If you’d prefer to make arrangements for witnessing without visiting our offices, you’ll need to find two witnesses for your Will to be valid. Witnesses must be over the age of 18, not related to you and not be a beneficiary under the Will or the spouse of a beneficiary. You and your witnesses should be present at the same time, see each other sign, but please keep in mind the government guidelines for social distancing.

For an LPA, an independent person over the age of 18 to whom you are not related, and who is not an Attorney, can witness your signature. You will also need a certificate provider to sign the LPA ideally at the same time as you. They can be a professional or someone who is not a relative, who you have known for at least two years. The witnesses for the attorney can be another attorney but we advise that the attorney's witness should be an independent person over the age of 18 to whom they are not related. Again, the government guidelines on social distancing should be observed.

What happens if I or a member of my family passes away during the pandemic without a Will in place?

If, unfortunately, a Will is not in place when someone passes away, then the rules of intestacy apply. These set out who is entitled to deal with the estate and who is entitled to the money and property of the person who has passed away. The Rules of Intestacy are complex and we can advise on these.

What is the process for Probate?

We can advise you via phone, email, video call or face-to-face appointment, depending on your preferences. If you would prefer not to visit our offices, the family/executors can send any relevant documents by post, and we can start the process. We would be happy to discuss this in more detail when you contact us

For further information, please contact our Wills & Probate team on 0113 201 4900, wills.probate@emsleys.co.uk or via live chat on our website.

Elizabeth E Webb

Written by

Elizabeth E Webb

Head of Wills & Probate

Elizabeth is a Solicitor and Head of the Wills & Probate department. She was admitted to the roll of solicitors in 2004 and specialises in wills, trusts and estate planning and administration.  Born in the USA, Elizabeth began her working life with a military career in the United States Air Force and retired at...

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