Corona Virus (COVID 19)
Although our office doors are locked we are still working in the virtual world. We are having to adapt some working methods. Please ring us for the latest situation but the information below should help.
This page will be updated as and when we can
A major overhaul of probate legislation is on the agenda, as the government urgently looks to change requirements around witnessing wills in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Law Society and the Ministry of Justice are discussing ways to deformalise the signing of wills and to make it quicker to register for lasting powers of attorney. Currently a will must be signed by the testator and two independent witnesses.
Among the options on the table are an Australian-style approach which would give judges more flexibility when deciding what constitutes a will; a European-style system where testators could write wills by hand without witnesses; and a process where wills could be witnessed electronically. Current laws around the signing of wills have been in place since 1837, and it is unclear whether new legislation would be revoked once the coronavirus crisis is over.
In the meantime, we at Nelson Myatt are taking instructions by phone conference and signing wills in the car park of the Conwy Business Centre keeping strict social distancing.
We have a legal obligation to check your ID when progressing most matters. Normally we would check two forms of photo ID but for now we will conduct a video call over Skype or Zoom meetings to verify your ID
The current Governement postion is that transactions that have progressed to exchange of contracts can proceed, however, transactions not at that advanced level should be postponed as they are not essential. There are other factors to bear in mind such as the removals company agreeing to undertake the move. We can of course progress with the process up to Exchange.
The Law Society has asked the government to clear up confusion over ongoing homebuying purchases during the coronavirus crisis as conveyancers struggle to know what to do.
A government spokesperson said yesterday that buyers and renters should, as far as possible, delay moving house while lockdown measures are in place. Chancery Lane says it is seeking further clarity from the government and hopes official guidance will be published in the next few days.
Simon Davis, Society president, said: ‘If you are acting for someone who has exchanged contracts and has a completion date within the next few days, and you, your client and the other side are able to proceed, there is currently no government guidance to prevent you doing so. This is, of course, subject to following current guidelines in respect of public health: properties not being occupied with cases (or suspected cases of) Covid-19, occupants not being in a state of isolation, and all parties abiding to social distancing requirements.’