How technology can help you make a valid Will
Posted on 25th May 2020
This is certainly one way that technology can help you to prepare your Will. It’s so much easier to discuss things when you can see someone.
The process, known as ‘taking instructions’, can be done via a video conference, and your Will can then be drafted and sent via email or post. Once you have reviewed your draft Will you can have another video conference to go through it in detail and to agree any amendments before the final version is sent to you.
Before taking part in a video conference with your Will writer it is a good idea to collect as much information as you can. This could include a list of your assets such as property, your car, any collections of jewellery or art for example. It’s also worth checking your bank accounts, ISAs, investments and savings, because many of us forget what we have.
You will need to appoint someone as your executor to carry out the terms of your Will. Think about who this should be and, ideally, check with them to make sure they are happy to act on your behalf.
Write down any questions you would like to ask, so that you can tick them off as they are covered in the video conference, and so that you remember to ask them at the end if they haven’t been answered.
However, your Will can’t be witnessed during a video conference. Your witnesses must by physically present when you sign your Will.
Validity of your Will
This is the part of the process that can’t yet be replaced by technology. To make a valid Will you must sign and date it and this must be witnessed by two people who are present at the same time. While there have been discussions about changing this requirement during the coronavirus outbreak, it hasn’t yet been changed.
Your witnesses must be independent and not related to you. If beneficiaries of your Will or their spouses or civil partners are witnesses, they will lose their inheritance.
However, there are a lot of different ways to make sure your Will is properly signed and witnessed while still following the social distancing rules.
Proof of identity
Whoever is helping you to prepare your Will must confirm your identity. This might involve sharing the details of your:
armed forces ID card
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) tax document (such as a self-assessment tax return)
police or other government department ID card
benefit book or notification letter outlining your right to benefits.
They will also need proof of residency. As long as you haven’t already used them as proof of your identity, you can do this with:
a household utility bill (gas and electricity, dated within the last three months)
benefit book or notification letter, outlining your right to benefits
house or car insurance certificate
Council Tax statement
local authority rent card or tenancy agreement.
While it’s important that you can prove who you are and your address, this information could also be used by criminals to steal your identity, so you must be confident that you are working with a legitimate, trained and regulated professional. Check the company’s registration at Companies House and look for independent reviews and testimonials.
If you or anyone you know would like more advice on creating or amending a Will during the coronavirus outbreak, please do get in touch.
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