Covid-19—demand rises for Will writing services

Which reports that law firms in England have been ‘inundated’ with clients wanting to write wills in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ian Bond, chair of Wills and equity at the Law Society, told the consumer champion that one firm in the Black Country had been forced to turn clients away. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG), which is used to register lasting powers of attorney in England and Wales, is also struggling with increased demand.

Processing times for applications are meant to take 40 days or less but the OPG has warned this is likely to take longer thanks to demand and the impact on staffing levels because of coronavirus.

Necessity of a Will

Which points out that everyone needs a Will, as it is the only way to ensure your wishes are carried out after you die. This is particularly important for co-habiting couples, as partners do not have the automatic right to inheritance as married people or civil partners.

Royal London, the insurance firm, recently found that two in five homeowners do not have a Will.

A Will, Which advises, should include anything and everything that is important to a person. Trusts give further flexibility that can allow decisions to be made that will fit changing circumstances after your death.

Wills need to cater for particular circumstances

Wills do not need to be written by a solicitor—and there are a number of online services now available—but it is important that a Will caters for someone’s particular circumstances. The bigger the estate or the more complex the family situation, the greater necessity for a Will that is written properly. And it is wise to use a solicitor or Will writer who specialises in inheritance.

Finders International’s legal services support solicitors and other legal professionals with a variety of matters including searches for missing wills, unclaimed assets, dormant balances, required documents and checks for bankruptcy around the world.

Which recommends those who have accreditation from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) or Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE). If people choose unregulated Will writers, they should opt for those who are part of the Institute of Professional Will Writers or the Society of Will Writers.

An existing Will can’t be changed but it can be replaced. It is also important to update a Will after births, marriages, deaths, budgets where there have been changes to tax rules on deaths or trusts and where time has passed.

Video conferencing

Many law firms and Will writers are now using video conferencing services such as Skype or Zoom to help clients prepare their Wills. Wills need witnesses for signatures (two people who aren’t related to you or the executor) and this can be tricky while people are social distancing.

However, Which recommends a solution where a person signs on one side of a window and passes the Will to witnesses on the other side. Once a Will is executed, it is valid immediately.

Finders International offer a Missing Will Service and Missing Will Insurance. To find out more, please visit our website.  Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or telephone: 020 7490 4935