The coronavirus pandemic has sadly brought into sharp focus the need to have a will in place. With the country in lockdown and many offices closed a result, you may be wondering if it’s still possible to put a new will into place or change an existing will. The answer is yes.
How will the process work?
Most law firms are continuing to operate in some capacity. At Gibson Kerr, our solicitors are all working remotely and, although we are not currently able to have face to face client meetings, we can hold meetings ‘virtually’. We can do this whether you are an existing client, or a new client to the firm.
Ideally, we would hold a video meeting with you. There are many types of software applications which provide video conferencing facilities, usually for free; Zoom, Skype or Google Chats to name a few. It is usually possible to have a video call through one of these services without setting up an account with them.
We will liaise with you to agree which application to use and we can then make the arrangements to set up the meeting and send you a link to join the video meeting. All you will need is a camera function on your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
If you do not have access to a camera for a video meeting, we can hold the meeting via telephone, but will make extra arrangements with you to ensure we are complying with relevant requirements, such as checking your identity.
What happens at the meeting?
During the video or telephone meeting, we will discuss your circumstances with you and discuss what you would like to say in your will. We will ask you questions about your assets and which beneficiaries you wish to leave assets to. It is therefore helpful if you have to hand a list of your assets and estimated values, to discuss during the meeting.
What happens next?
After the meeting, we will draft the will for you and will send a draft to you either by email or in the post. You will then have the chance to make any amendments or additions to the draft will. Once you are happy with the will, we will finalise it for signing and then hold another video call meeting with you to arrange the signing.
The Law Society of Scotland have recently issued guidance confirming that we can act as a witness to the signing of a will if we watch you signing it via video link. This means that you will not need to ask an independent witness to visit you to watch you sign the will, which would potentially put you at risk during the pandemic.
Again, if you do not have access to video call facilities, we will agree with you the best arrangements for signing your will during the lockdown.
Call us to discuss your will
If you are interested in making a will, or changing an existing will, please contact one of our personal law solicitors on 0131 202 7516 and we will be happy to discuss it with you.