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UK lawyers report surge in inquiries about wills

By Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

Firms are reporting a surge in demand in inquiries from people about wills.

Legal services firm Slater and Gordon said that, in recent weeks, it has had around double the number of inquiries it would normally expect to receive.

Michael Knott, head of the wills team at Slater and Gordon, said: “We have seen a significant spike in inquiries from people wanting to either make or update their will, with more than double the usual number of calls this month.”

He said the current situation has thrown up some challenges in terms of how those who are self-isolating are able to get their wills witnessed.

“Our advice is that signatures will still be valid as long as each party can see the other sign – either, for example, by watching through a doorway or window or outside from a safe distance,” he said.

“That said, there is a strict process that still needs be followed with this and so, if they are at all unsure, it is important they seek legal advice.

“We recognise this isn’t ideal but at the moment it is necessary for the safety and well-being of everyone involved.”

Meanwhile, financial advice company deVere Group, which has an online wills service, said it has also seen a surge in inquiries.

Chief executive Nigel Green said: “With more people with more time on their hands due to social distancing measures and lockdowns, the coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented, collective focusing-of-minds effect.”