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UK Lockdown - giving instructions and signing legal documents

Published: 6 April 2020

We are here and can provide you with high quality local assistance remotely on all of your legal matters including Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, family and children matters.

The precautions put in place to address and stop the spread of COVID-19 have led to a large proportion of the global workforce now having to work from home.  This means that many of you will be thinking that your legal matters now have to be put on hold but this is not the case.

You may not be able to meet with a member of our team in person but we are here to offer you guidance on how to keep in contact with us and also sign any relevant documentation to prevent your matter coming to a standstill.

We have systems in place to enable us to continue providing our clients with the same high standard of legal advice during this pandemic.  We will ensure you understand every step of your transaction and will be here to answer any questions you may have. These systems include the following:

  • Video conferencing by: FaceTime, Zoom (Video Communications App), Skype
  • Telephone calls including conference calls with 2+ parties
  • All staff at Alexander & Co now have their own business mobile telephone numbers that you can text or call (numbers available on request and at the foot of all email correspondence)

When it comes to signing documents, it may be necessary for your signature to be witnessed by one or more individuals for the document to become legally binding. Traditionally we would act as the witness when meeting with you, however, this is now only possible in limited circumstances.

We will guide you with full instructions on how to validly sign documents and if and when witnesses need to be present.

We can send the documents to you by post or email for you to review prior to signing and advice can be given on the content in any of the methods stated above.

We can make arrangements for a member of our team to be present and act as a witness whilst still maintaining a safe distance so far as possible i.e. through a windowpane.  This will have to be assessed on a case by case basis and the vulnerability of each of our clients.

Other possibilities for the witnessing of your signature are:

  • You could ask your adjacent neighbour to act as a witness from their own garden/ over the fence. Provided that your witness can see you sign the document, this would be sufficient.
  • You could stand on your doorstep whilst your witness stands at least two metres away from you in your garden
  • Opposite sides of the same room
  • Opposite sides of a bench in a public area

Each of the above practical methods will of course involve any document being transferred between you and your witness. You may wish to use protective gloves if available but if you are completely self-isolating because you have symptoms of the virus then please do not put any neighbour or friend at risk and at all times the advice given by Public Health England should be observed.

Who can act as a witness:

  • An individual who is over the age of 18; and
  • Who is not a party to the document or a family member of a party to the document; and
  • For Wills, who is not related to (nor likely to become related to) a beneficiary of your Will.

We at Alexander & Co will assist you in any way possible to ensure a smooth transaction. Even though COVID-19 has put the world at a standstill it should not stop you thinking about both the present and the future. We are all in this together. 

Please contact our partner Katie Basey by email or telephone 01332 600005 and we would be pleased to discuss your requirements in more detail.