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In uncertain times, it can be helpful to think of practical steps that you can take to plan for the future for you and your family. One way you can do this is by revisiting your estate planning to ensure everything is up to date and reflects your current wishes.
Our experienced wills and probate solicitors are on hand with practical advice relating to all aspects of estate planning, whether it be reviewing your existing will, drafting a new one or putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney.
We are dedicated to ensuring all of our clients are as safe as possible during this worrying time, and will aim to draft new wills within seven working days. We can also deal with new instructions via email, as well as operating a postal service for delivery of documents.
To speak to the wills team at JMW Solicitors, contact us today by calling 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you. Across all our departments and teams we are able to offer ‘virtual meetings’ via video conferencing software.
How JMW Can Help
Our experienced and knowledgeable solicitors understand the worry that uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic can cause. We appreciate that this may leave people feeling unsettled and concerned about how the pandemic might affect their lives and those of their loved ones in the long term.
In these rapidly changing times, one thing that hasn’t changed is that JMW is here to help. We are ready and willing to assist you with the following services:
Reviewing Your Existing Will
Reviewing your will on a regular basis is important, particularly after any significant life event such as marriage, the birth of your children, bereavement or a windfall. Failure to do so could make it unclear when it comes to administering your estate in the event of your death.
Your asset base may also have changed significantly since your will was initially drafted, potentially meaning you could now benefit from inheritance tax planning advice.
JMW can offer a free review of your current will to ensure that it reflects your wishes, while providing you with help on how it should be amended.
Drafting a New Will
Our expert solicitors are also on hand to assist you with drafting a new will, or a will for any family members or friends who may need help in this area.
Having a will in place is essential and will make it much easier for your relatives and loved ones to administer your estate in the event of your death. It will provide clarity as to your wishes, therefore alleviating stress for those who are dealing with the estate.
Without a will in place, your personal representatives will have no choice but to share your assets in accordance with the laws of intestacy, which may not reflect your wishes. This is vitally important for those who wish to provide for an unmarried partner, who would not stand to inherit anything under current intestacy laws.
Our team has developed options to allow you to create a will while socially distancing, ensuring there is no increased risk to signing or reason to delay doing so.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
We can help with all aspects of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA). An LPA allows your appointed attorneys to deal with financial or health decisions on your behalf if you have lost the capacity to do so.
Having an LPA in place means you have control over who is appointed, and will have the chance to ensure they are aware of your wishes, allowing them to act in your best interests if the need should ever arise.
How do I make a will at home in the coronavirus outbreak?
Our solicitors can help you every step of the way to create a will from home, which means you are able to adhere to social distancing rules. Once your will has been written, our legal experts can check it over, ensuring your wishes are clear and easy to understand.
You will then be free to print and sign your will alongside two witnesses.
How do I get people to witness my will when I’m self-isolating?
With millions of people across the UK currently self-isolating to minimise the risk of catching COVID-19, more people are choosing to write a will to ensure their wishes are followed in the event of their death.
The law in England and Wales states that a will must be signed alongside two witnesses. If you are self-isolating and need people to witness and sign your will, it is important that you do not put it off. You could arrange for both of your witnesses to watch through a closed window as you sign your will. Then, after ensuring your witnesses have recently washed their hands, you can pass your will through your letterbox for them to sign.
They can then return the will to you through the letterbox, allowing you to put it somewhere safe.
Why do I need to check my will with a solicitor?
A solicitor can help you to ensure your will is valid by checking for mistakes and ensuring that nothing has been left open to interpretation. Any grey areas could make it more likely that your will is contested.
At JMW, our wills experts offer an unrivalled service, ensuring you are supported at every stage of the will-writing process. We are dedicated to maintaining your safety, and so will conduct all communications over the phone or using video calls.
How do I register a death during the coronavirus lockdown?
Most register offices across the country are offering telephone appointments to register a death. In some cases, appointment requests can be made through an online portal. A death should be registered within five days.
Find your local register office on the government website here. You will then be able to set up a free telephone appointment to register the death.
The cost of a death certificate is £11, with an invoice sent out to you in the post following your appointment.
Can I get a grant of probate during the coronavirus lockdown?
Yes, you can apply for probate by speaking to a solicitor over the phone. Our probate solicitors are trained to handle cases over the phone, ensuring you can get your application sorted as quickly and safely as possible.
We will discuss your unique circumstances in detail to gather information about your loved one’s estate, and prepare your application. We will then send this out in the post for you to sign.
Once you are satisfied, your application can be submitted to the probate registry. Your grant of probate will then be sent out in the post once it has been approved.
Can I apply for probate without seeing a solicitor?
With lockdown enforced across the country, our solicitors are offering a telephone service to protect the safety of our clients. This means you can apply for probate without going to see a solicitor face to face.
When your probate application has been submitted and approved by the probate registry, your grant of probate or grant of letters of administration will be sent to you in the post.
How do I calculate the value of an estate when the banks are closed?
Banks and building societies across the UK are currently closed, which means you will be unable to go into a local branch to discuss your loved one’s accounts. You will be able to access this information by calling the bank. Should you require assistance with this, our solicitors are happy to help.
Can I still value a property when estate agents are closed?
Our probate specialists are able to accept an estimate or online valuation for your loved one’s property. A virtual valuation can be carried out by visiting the Purplebricks free house valuation page here.
The only time where an online valuation will not be accepted is if you are dealing with an estate that is close to the inheritance tax threshold of £325,000 (for 2020/21). If your loved one had previously inherited all of their spouse’s estate, the inheritance tax threshold may be £650,000.
Can I administer an estate during the lockdown?
If you have received a grant of probate or grant of letters of administration, this means you are permitted to close bank accounts, sell property and collect funds from the estate. At this time, you should be able to deal with banks and building societies over the phone; however, you may need to send them your grant through the post in order to prove your right to administer the estate.