Coronavirus and the Importance of Wills

by Sukjeet Sandhu, private client lawyer

Time to plan

With all the uncertainty arising from the Coronavirus and when things may get back to normal, rest assured that we can still provide you with the certainty of having a Will prepared.  Despite the restrictions imposed by the ‘lockdown’ measures, social distancing rules and self-isolation, we have procedures in place, to enable instructions for Wills to be taken and to be prepared for both existing and new clients. So please do get in touch with us if you would like advice on your Will(s).

Making a Will may have been at the back of your mind but now the Coronavirus pandemic is prompting many people to put their affairs into order rather than leave them for another time.  This includes considering a Will.  Putting your affairs in order and planning for the future can help to provide your family and friends with a peace of mind during what will be a difficult time when you are no longer with them. 

The importance of a Will cannot be underestimated.  A Will allows you to provide for your loved ones, decide who will manage your affairs when you are no longer here, nominate guardians for children who are under the age of 18, provide instructions for your funeral arrangements and detail charitable gifts.  These are just a few reasons for making a Will, there are many more.  Even if you already have a Will in place, it may require updating if there has been a change in your circumstances. 

So how are we dealing with the restrictive measures imposed on meeting face to face?

We are adhering to the government advice and therefore our offices are closed to clients and face to face meetings are not possible.  The array of technology available does not prevent us from taking instructions and dealing effectively with the preparation of your Will.  We have the following communication methods available:

Video calling via skype and zoom

Telephone calls


Execution of Wills

Whilst our offices remain closed to the public the execution of your Will is a matter in your own hands.  This may appear a big task but rest assured we are providing full guidance and instructions to ensure as far as possible a smooth signing takes place.  We are sending Wills to our clients and asking them to make arrangements for suitable witnesses to visit them while maintaining social distancing.

The requirements for the execution of a valid Will are derived from Section 9 Wills Act 1837.  This states that a Will must be signed by the testator contemporaneously in the presence of two independent witnesses, who are over the age of 18.  The definition of ‘independent’ is very restrictive and the following should not act as a witness:

Members of the testator’s family

Beneficiaries named under the testator’s Will or codicil

The spouse of any beneficiary

Innovative Will signings are now being put in place.  So perhaps setting up a table in the front garden and whilst keeping your distance everyone signs their parts turn by turn.  As an extra precaution we are recommending that we observe the Will signing by video call or a video recording is taken of the execution with a separate contemporaneous note from the testator to record the circumstances of the execution and to show that no evidence of coercion or undue influence is apparent.

Despite being in challenging times making a Will is not a challenging ordeal.  We are here to assist you and wait to hear from you to make arrangements for your Will.  Please contact Sukjeet Sandhu (Suki) by telephone on 0208 370 2873 or email her