At the moment, and rightly so everyone’s focus is on doing what we can to stay safe, stay well and support our NHS, key workers and vulnerable people.
Very few of us have experienced a situation like this and concerns that we might never have had before are very suddenly at the forefront of our mind when we are faced very forcefully with our own mortality.
Legal firms across the UK have reported dramatic increases in enquiries about Wills as the coronavirus outbreak prompts people to urgently review their Will.
While Google trends is showing an increase in search terms such as update Will, change Will, write Will.
Will writing in Northern Ireland is amongst the lowest across the whole of the UK.
In fact, almost 80% of people in Northern Ireland don’t have a either a Will or an up to date Will. Many people might be extremely worried that they don’t have a Will in place right now.
With solicitor firms closed to face to face consultations, you might think that your only option in preparing your Will is to write your own.
If your family circumstances and ‘estate’ are straightforward this could be a quick and free solution.
However, very rarely are our situations simple and it will be better to get some expert advice to ensure that you don’t create a host of expensive problems for your family in the future.
Your two main options are:
- Preparing your Will with a solicitor via video or telephone consultation
Many solicitors are still drafting Wills via a video or telephone consultation. If you have a family solicitor it might be worth making contact with them to see if this option is available.
Video consultation is preferred for new clients so a solicitor can check any necessary IDs and ensure that you aren’t put under any pressure with regards to your Will.
You will have to make your own arrangements for signing and witnessing, subject to social distancing rules.
However, failure to do this correctly could result in part of all of your Will being invalid so please follow instructions given by your solicitor very carefully.
It needs to be signed and dated by you and witnessed by two people who aren’t related to you or the beneficiaries, are over the age of 18, of sound mind and who can watch you sign the document.
In this time of social distancing, this can be done through a window.
GPs, work colleagues, neighbours or friends are often go-to choices.
- Online via Bequeathed.com
An online tool called Bequeathed which allows you to create your own Will and is now available in Northern Ireland.
Bequeathed has exclusively partnered with Belfast law firm, Cleaver Fulton Rankin.
You can use the online programme to create a very basic Will free of charge. If you would like it checked by a solicitor it will be reviewed by a solicitor at Cleaver Fulton Rankin.
A 45-minute review and subsequent advice will cost £200 + VAT. The cost of more complex advice will be discussed with the client.
The review fee is currently reduced to £100 for NHS staff.
There is so much to be worried and anxious about at the moment. But in terms of writing your Will or updating your existing one there are options available.
Start by giving your solicitor a call or checking out the information on Bequeathed.co.uk