Not everyone wants to instruct a solicitor. Some may have taken the decision to prepare their will themselves or ask a relative, carer or friend to do so on their behalf. As just one mistake or omission, no matter how small, may invalidate an entire will, there is a possibility that these homemade wills might not comply with the necessary formalities or may be unclear as to the intention. The loss and grief that families have already suffered after a loved one dies from Covid-19 will only be compounded if the will is invalid because the formalities were not complied with, leading to concerns about living arrangements and financial security.
Our wills and probate solicitors at Eddowes Perry and Osbourne always recommend everyone should have a will and that it should be written and drafted professionally. However, a large proportion of the population that should have a will does not. We need to do a better job of explaining to the public why they need to make wills and why this should be done using a solicitor.
Planning opportunities exist in wills which clients may not have previously considered. This may be to provide for long-term care or for assets to pass to the next generation in a tax-efficient manner. This means solicitors moving beyond just writing wills, and being fully committed to properly supporting clients to consider their plans for the future.
Professional Will Writing Services
At Eddowes Perry and Osbourne we look to provide a review of the client’s personal affairs (or those of their family), including the effective succession to family assets, including property and business interests whether in the UK or overseas; advice regarding property ownership and co-ownership arrangements; the mitigation of inheritance, capital gains tax and other UK taxes; the creation and use of trusts and other structures to effectively manage and protect family wealth; providing for circumstances when our client is not able to deal with their affairs themselves; making effective provision for long-term care; and encouraging charitable legacies.
The coronavirus pandemic is a fast-moving situation and the profession is facing unprecedented challenges. It brings into focus the fact that the law of wills needs to be modernised to take account of the changes in society, technology and medical understanding. The Law Society has been liaising with the Ministry of Justice to discuss proposals for legislative reform to address the challenges posed by the pandemic, without resorting to electronic signatures or remote witnessing to execute wills, which could compromise safeguards against fraud and abuse.
As the country contemplates a release from lockdown, these challenges continue to present themselves in relation to the formalities. Whatever form new legislation takes, Eddowes Perry & Osbourne have embrace the opportunities it will present.