The Taylor&Emmet Blog

Coronavirus: How to put your affairs in order during lockdown…

In these challenging and unprecedented times, concern for loved ones has led to an increase in demand for wills. Richard Barlow explains how to put your affairs in order under lockdown…

My elderly father doesn’t have a will. Given the risks posed to all of us by coronavirus, I’d like to arrange for him to see a solicitor – is that possible?

The threat we currently face to our health and wellbeing has sadly brought the need to have a will into sharp focus for many families.

Although our offices are closed at the moment, we are geared up to help people draw up wills. Where we would normally meet clients face to face to discuss their wishes, we can do so over the phone, by email or video call.

I understand dad will need to sign the final version of his will in the presence of witnesses. How will that be managed?

Understandably, in light of the current social distancing rules, this has been one of the most frequently asked questions during the last month or so.

The laws relating to the signature of wills and in particular, the witnessing of signatures, remain the same. You must sign in the presence of two independent adults, who are both there at the same time. It is not permitted to witness a will via video messaging, both individuals must be physically in attendance.

We can send the final version of your father’s will in the post for him to sign, along with a set of guidance notes explaining how to deal with the witnessing process. We appreciate it can be difficult in the circumstances to arrange for two people to be present, but we are finding clients are most commonly calling on friendly neighbours to help. Ideally, you would ask two people from the same household, for example, husband and wife to act as witnesses.

Obviously, witnessing needs to be done at a safe distance, but as long as the two volunteers can clearly see your father signing the will and vice versa, it will be valid, as the rules have been met.

To find out more about making or reviewing a will, why not book a free 30-minute consultation with one of our probate specialists? Telephone (0114) 218 4000, email: or complete this form.

Richard Barlow

Richard is a partner in our wills, probate, tax & trusts team in Sheffield. Richard worked at a local Sheffield firm for 9 years following qualification in 2000 and subsequently for 9 years at a Chesterfield based firm. For more information on this topic email or call him on 0114 218 4000.

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