Much has been written about executing wills correctly in the current unprecedented circumstances caused by Covid-19. Getting a will put in place is a sensible step to take in light of the uncertainty and the advice of a solicitor should always be sought. However, care must be taken that those vulnerable to coercion are not exploited by others during this period. Solicitors and will writers must ensure client identification checks continue to be maintained - in so far as safely possible.
The possibility of an increase in fraudulent, or simply invalid, homemade wills is also a concern. Checks also need to carried out as far as possible that signatures are not forged and that witnesses are genuine. There is nothing to prevent a professional enquiring with the testator who has witnessed a signature to a will and how they did so and recording that in a note, even if they are not going to be involved themselves. As the many articles on this topic have demonstrated, there are creative ways of safely executing a will outside the standard office setting and solicitors can make arrangements to do so as quickly as needed.
There will inevitably be fall out from the surge in will writing that is taking place at the moment and this is likely to lead to an increase in disputes later down the line. However, caution should be had to rash changes being made to the law. Changes do need to be considered, as with any aspect of the law it must keep up to date with society, but any changes to the execution of wills must ensure individuals are protected from those who seek to gain unintended benefit.
Signatures are also being watched through windows and patio doors as current restrictions make 200-year-old will writing laws difficult to uphold.