The Ministry of Justice is examining ways to relax rules around will writing in England and Wales following a surge in the number of people making preparations for their final farewell, due to COVID-19.
Currently, for a will to be valid, it must be signed by two witnesses present at the same time, and the witnesses must be independent and not related to the person to whom the will applies. Under current social distancing measures, especially for those in isolation at home or in hospital, it is almost impossible to adhere to the rules.
The Ministry of Justice is now looking at a temporary relaxation in the rules, which could involve reducing the number of witnesses required, or possibly accepting other solutions, such as video witnessing.
But why is a Will so important?
Your will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die (all these things together are called your ‘estate’). If you don’t leave a will, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this might not be in line with your wishes.
And what is a Power of Attorney?
Putting in place a power of attorney can give you peace of mind that someone you trust is in charge of your affairs, if the worst were to happen. There are two types to consider: one for finance and property, and another for health and welfare.
Your representative should only ever make a choice for you if you’re unable to make that specific decision at the time it needs to be made. For example, if you fall into a coma, your representative would start looking after your affairs. Yet if you wake from the coma, you should be able to make your own decisions again.
We don’t mean to be morbid, but in these incredibly uncertain times, along with a relaxation in the rules from the MoJ, now is the perfect time to put your mind at rest with a Will and Power of Attorney.
Our Private Client team are on hand to help.
You can email us on email@example.com or call us on 01244 310 022.