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Gloucestershire Business News

Lockdown proves perfect time to make a will

Nicole Boon, Langley Wellington

Solicitors firm Langley Wellington has witnessed a rise in requests for wills since the emergence of the coronavirus.

The company, which has offices in Gloucester and Cheltenham, is very much open for business and receiving calls from clients voicing fears over not having their estates in order during the COVID-19 epidemic.

The company says the regulations around staying at home have prompted many to consider their wishes for loved ones after their death.

One solicitor at the company received 15 will preparation requests in a four-day period with many more enquiries concerning how paperwork might be completed while isolated with no witnesses to call on.

Solicitor Nicole Boon said: "We have been given the gift of time with the onset of this pandemic and it means families can give real consideration to what they want after their death - rather than leave it until the last minute."

Langley Wellington has been able to adapt their processes to cope with the current regulations, Miss Boon explained.

Clients are posted or emailed a questionnaire which will glean the basic information for their will.

A telephone call between the solicitor and the client will add detail to the document which is reviewed and approved by the client before the will is posted back to them with full instructions on how it might be signed and witnessed while adhering to social distancing rules.

Miss Boon said: "Clients have passed documents to neighbours over garden fences or invited neighbours to watch through their living room window as they sign the documents. It can be done.

"In one case where a gentleman had no contact with neighbours, we arranged to witness the signing at our offices but through the window."

While the sobering news constantly being fed to people through the media is prompting them to give thought to planning for their future, the pandemic is also leading to an increase in enquiries pertaining to probate.

The company confirmed it has received several calls from clients who have lost family members to COVID-19 or related conditions.

Miss Boon said: "Preparing the first will is the hardest but once you've answered the difficult questions that first time then making changes in the future is much easier.

"And you have peace of mind that, after your death, you are not leaving loved ones facing difficult decisions or challenges to sort out."

Andy Moston

Having more time to consider such big decisions during the lockdown has also impacted on the company's conveyancing department.

While the housing marketing is on shutdown, it need not stop people from continuing to get the relevant searches and paperwork in order and be ready for exchange contracts once restrictions are lifted.

According to head of residential property Andy Moston, Langley Wellington has been concentrating on the needs of employees and clients during the pandemic.

He said: "When it comes to taking care of our employees, the goals should be to keep them well, keep them employed and keep them mentally healthy.

"Our customers and clients are all facing some testing times, personally and financially.

"Our focus is to be here for them and to be ready for when they are given the green light and the lockdown constraints are lifted."

  • Costs start at £210 for preparing a single will but Langley Wellington is offering a 25 per cent discount on the price of wills, conveyancing and certain family matters for confirmed key workers.

For more information on how to prepare a will, deal with probate or conveyancing visit www.langleywellington.co.uk  or call 01452 521286.

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