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COVID-19: How can my Will or LPA be witnessed whilst social distancing?

During these unprecedented times, Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) can still proceed. We are adapting our processes to ensure matters can be started, progressed and finalised whilst keeping safe during the current social distancing period.

Wills

To be legally valid, your Will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses should be over the age of 18 and ‘independent’. You could choose friends or neighbours who have not been named in your Will to act as your witnesses. 

To comply with this requirement, prior to social distancing guidelines, you would have been invited to one of our offices and our team would have acted as the witnesses to your Will. However, during lockdown, we will send your finalised Will to you by post for you to sign and source your own witnesses.

You should maintain social distancing at all times. We recommend that your witnesses stand outside in the garden whilst you all sign the Will. Alternatively, the witnesses could watch you sign the document through a window and then sign their own signature and insert their details. As long as they have seen you sign the Will and then they sign to confirm that they have witnessed the document, the witnessing formalities have been completed and your Will is legally valid.

LPAs

The same witnessing recommendations can be applied to Lasting Powers of Attorney. You need to sign the documents, and so do your attorneys, in the presence of a witness. As long as you can source your own witness and a Certificate Provider (who has known you for at least two years and who can confirm that you have the capacity to enter into the document), then the documents can still be finalised during the pandemic.

To discuss making a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact our team on 0113 201 4040 or email wills.probate@emsleys.co.uk

Helena Clayton

Written by

Helena Clayton

Trainee Solicitor

Helena is Trainee Solicitor currently based in our Wills & Probate team. She has over five years’ experience working as a legal assistant in various departments including Wills & Probate. Helena is an active member of Emsleys’ Charity Committee and regularly volunteers in Business in the Community projects. She...

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