The Symptoms of Lockdown

Unlike basic needs such as food, air, shelter and water, we as solicitors understand that our services are only ‘needed’ when our clients have some important event in their lives.

Until you’re actively moving house, setting up a business or negotiating a contract, for example, we know that we are generally ‘off the radar’.

During the present pandemic – when the sale of houses is down to record lows and business confidence is at a similar level, you might expect that there is little to do in a legal practice.  But life does go on and our offices are open to help our clients through those times when the law impinges on daily life.

Covid-19 continues to cause huge disruption to our day to day routines – not least of which is the unexpected need for most people of working age to stay off work and remain in our homes.

On the lighter side there have been some unexpected consequences…

Coronavirus Lockdown Symptoms

You might recognise some or all of the following:

  1. The spring cleaning is really being done this spring
  2. Your dog has never been walked so thoroughly
  3. You’ve got your shopping list down to a fine art
  4. Your daily exercise routine includes finding areas on your doorstep that you never knew existed
  5. You have probably enjoyed some of the hilarious video clips that have been circulating by text

Demand for Wills

To more sober things.  The present crisis has caused a 76% lift in the demand for wills across the United Kingdom.

This perhaps should not surprise us. We are faced with a daily litany of the thousands of people across the world infected by coronavirus and the number of sudden deaths – both young and old.

We have seen our own usually ebullient prime minister brought low – spending over a week in hospital; almost every day we hear of the passing of seemingly indefatigable icons of stage and screen; people that we know and love are either self-isolating, infected or have sadly succumbed to the disease. All of this naturally turns our thoughts towards our own mortality.

Making a Will

There are a number of basic requirements in order for a will to be valid.

  1. Since 1837 it has been a legal requirement that a will must be in writing, signed by you, and witnessed by two people
  2. You must have the mental capacity to make the will and understand the effect it will have
  3. You must have made the will voluntarily and without pressure from anyone else.

Clearly at this time, with the need to socially distance ourselves, the witnessing of a signature is difficult to fulfill.

Changes in Law

To this end, there have been calls among legal practitioners for the government to temporarily change the law.

Suggestions include:

  • Allowing electronic signatures (rather than requiring a “wet ink” signature)
  • An alternative would be for legal representative to sign on a person’s behalf
  • Witnessing via video conferencing software such as Zoom

We’re Here for You

During these strange and fast-moving times, rest-assured that we are still here for you. Not in person, perhaps, but we continue to be at the other end of the phone should you need us or have a query – 01423 772860.

At AM Davies we are here to help. Should you wish to make a will or review your existing will (and we recommend that everyone does), we will be happy to discuss your needs.