Coronavirus: Solicitors report surge in people seeking to make wills

New guidelines instruct solicitors to witness clients’ signatures through windows in keeping with Covid-19 precautions

Solicitors have been advised to tell clients to bring their own pens for signing off on wills at solicitors’ offices. Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Solicitors have been advised to tell clients to bring their own pens for signing off on wills at solicitors’ offices. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

The signing of wills can now be witnessed by solicitors through the windows of clients’ homes and their cars in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

That is according to new guidelines to solicitors from the President of the Law Society of Ireland, Michele O’Boyle. It comes as solicitors report the pandemic has sparked a sharp surge in people looking to make their wills.

In a circular emailed to members in recent days, Ms O’Boyle has urged solicitors to take additional precautions when executing wills.

Ms O’Boyle said if solicitors have to attend a client’s home, the solicitor and a second person can witness the client sign a will through a window without having to enter the home.

‘Massive’ increase

Ms O’Boyle added: “Alternatively if the client is sitting in their car when you arrive, they can sign on the dashboard of their car witnessed by you and the other witness.”

Ms O’Boyle has also advised solicitors to tell clients to bring their own pens for signing off on wills at solicitors’ offices.

President of the Clare Law Association Patrick Moylan said there has been a “massive” increase in the numbers making wills due to coronavirus.

Mr Moylan said over the last few days, will-making has accounted for 50 per cent of his business whereas during more normal times “it wouldn’t be a significant part at all”.