Drive Thru Wills Signings Ensuring Demand Is Met
The number of Will enquiries has reached record levels in recent weeks and until stringent legislation is relaxed independent will writers and private client solicitors are having to go to extraordinary lengths to service demand whilst adhering to governmental social distancing advice.
Yesterday, we heard that some firms are dealing with up to more than 75 per cent more enquiries in the past two weeks. Whilst the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) are looking at ways to relax the Wills Act, we are still hearing of the innovative solutions being employed to ensure that the anxious UK public can access a valid Will.
A law firm in Darlington, Latimer Hinks, has taken advantage of a tried and tested fast food model by offering a ‘drive thru’ Will signing facility.
The law firm is able to follow governmental advice on social distancing by using the space outside their offices to allow clients to park, read a copy of their will, sign it in front of witnesses and safely return it to their solicitor, all from the comfort of their vehicles.
The national emergency facing the UK has prompted the government to place solicitors acting in connection with the execution of Wills on the list of essential workers.
However, at present, traditional ways of working and current laws are hindering the ease with which the process can take place, potentially placing those making Wills at risk.
Until rules around witnessing Wills are eased, it is testament to the sector that legal service practitioners are going to such lengths to ensure all documents are complying with the law whilst in impossibly difficult conditions.
Jennifer Quayle, solicitor at Latimer Hinks, commented:
“Like everyone in the country, we must follow the regulations on social distancing, but we quickly realised that it was going to be difficult to meet the legal formalities of executing a will if we couldn’t get everyone in the same room.
“We have the space in front of the building and, taking advantage of the low levels of traffic, we decided to be creative, and take the office outside. Our clients have responded very well to it, even if it is a little bit strange at first.”
Natalie Palmer, director at Latimer Hinks, said:
“Latimer Hinks has been serving the local community for more than 125 years, and over that time we’ve had to adapt and change to make sure our clients still receive an excellent service.
“Offering a ‘drive thru will signing’ service is just one of the ways we have supported our customers since the coronavirus crisis began, and we are delighted that we are able to keep helping our clients during this difficult and unprecedented time.”
In all likelihood, until the spread of the coronavirus in the UK is under control, draconian measures are likely to intensify. At this point, demand for Wills will still be high but people wanting them may be unable to leave their homes if a full lockdown situation is necessary. It is clear that Will writing in England and Wales is going to need a workaround to ensure Wills are valid if finding witnesses becomes impossible.
How is your business or law firm ensuring that anxious clients are able to complete the Will process?