Procedure for Signing your Will at home whilst practising social distancing due to Coronavirus
Your safety and that of the Witnesses is of paramount importance. Please read the following procedure carefully.
1. Ahead of our meeting where practicable and possible we will send you a signing copy (‘engrossment’) of your Will. You will recognise the engrossment as it will have a ribbon in the left hand corner. Please keep this safe and have it available for our meeting.
2. We will contact you to agree a time for us to visit you. Please can you make sure that you are available at the agreed time, and let us know in good time if you are unable to attend for any reason, as for our witnesses’ safety we would wish to avoid them making a wasted journey.
3. Similarly, if you have any queries about the will it is important that these are raised before the signing appointment, as we will be unable to discuss these queries at that meeting. Again, this is to ensure the safety of the witnesses and yourself by reducing the duration of the appointment.
4. When making the appointment with us, please let us know whether there is an outside space available (for example a front garden, or pathway before your front door). If there is, and if it is a dry day, we will bring a table with us which we will set up 2m from your door or window. We will wipe the table down both before and after the signing.
5. If no such space is available (or if it is raining), you will need please to ensure that there is a table available in a room large enough to allow us to remain more than 2m away from you at all times. We will again wipe the table down both before and after the appointment, so please make sure that it is clear of covers / personal items before we arrive.
6. When our witnesses attend, they will wear masks and gloves. Please do not be frightened or offended by this, as we are merely attempting to reduce the risk of infection. We would ask you likewise, if you are able to do so and have them, to wear a mask and/or gloves for the meeting. Our witnesses will not be wearing business clothes as it is important that they are able to wash their clothes after a visit.
7. Our witnesses will bring their own pens, and you should please have your own pen available to use at the meeting.
8. You will be asked to stand back 2m from the table. If we have sent you the will beforehand, you should then, in the presence of the witnesses, read through it and confirm to them that you are happy with its terms before placing it on the table. If we bring the will with us, we will place it on the table before stepping back 2m from the table and asking you to step forward to read the will.
9. If you are happy to sign, you will then be directed by one of our witnesses as to how and where to sign the will. You will be asked to step up to the table to do this. When you have done this, you will again be asked to step back 2m from the table. Our witnesses will then step forward and sign as witnesses, and then take the wills. These will then be taken back to our office for processing and copying.
10. It is vital that social distancing protocols are observed throughout the whole process. Please do not approach the witnesses, and please observe their instructions at all times.
We have sought in preparing this protocol to limit the risk of infection as far as we are able to do so; but you will appreciate that we cannot entirely eliminate the risk.
Therefore you will be agreeing that:
i. you accept such risk as there is;
ii. we will not be liable for any infection which may result directly or indirectly as a consequence of our meeting;
iii. you will observe our protocol at all times both before and during the meeting; and
iv. we may proceed on this basis