As you have probably seen or heard in the news, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of Irish people making their Wills during the Coronavirus crisis; some from a very genuine concern about the risk of contracting the virus (many on the front line), but others just finally have the time to get making a will ticked off their To-Do List.
With the current restrictions in place in Ireland regarding social distancing, many of you are asking how to get the Wills witnessed when the official papers are sent to you.
To be legally binding, a Will must be signed by the Testator (the person making the Will) in front of two witnesses. The witnesses can be anyone so long as they are over 18 with capacity to know what they are witnessing, and not a Beneficiary named in the Will. Most of my Clients ask neighbours, work colleagues, or family friends to witness their signatures. The witnesses do not need to read what’s in the Will – they only need to see the part where the Testator is signing.
During the #StayAtHome restrictions, execution (signing) of a Will is a bit trickier than normal, but the majority of my Clients are asking their neighbours to witness them – you could sign at the neighbours’ windowsill and pop it in their window or letterbox for them to sign and hand back to you. Alternatively, if a neighbour is not an option, perhaps you could drive to a nearby friends’ house. You can sign the Will in the car, and let them sign on your bonnet.
Another option, probably my least preferable in case the unthinkable happened, would be to hold the unsigned Wills somewhere safe while we are in Lockdown and get them signed when the restrictions are lifted. It is extremely important that you don’t forget to get them signed. If any of my Clients choose this option, I would ask them to let me know, and I will send regular reminders so the execution of the Wills is not overlooked. An unsigned Will is not a legally binding document.
If you have any questions, please get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +353 86 8377559.