Daily Mail

Hero NHS staff drive up demand for wills

- By Ben Wilkinson b.wilkinson@dailymail.co.uk

DOCTORS and nurses on the frontline in the fight against coronaviru­s are behind a surge in demand for wills.

The country’s largest online will-writing firm has reported a 12-fold increase in customers who work for the NHS.

It comes as the legal industry last month said it had seen at least a 70 pc rise in queries. The Law Society said it had seen a ‘huge spike’, but mainly from elderly and vulnerable people.

Now online business Farewill, which writes more wills than any other firm, says it saw hundreds more NHS staff enquire about a will in March. The customer service team also spoke to worried medical workers who needed advice about arranging their affairs.

Many firms, including Farewill, are now pledging to provide NHS workers with a will free of charge.

Ian Bond, chairman of The Law Society’s wills and equity committee, says he has seen a ‘huge surge in interest across the board’ — including from NHS workers.

He says: ‘NHS staff say they are being told by their managers that they should be getting wills in place and they should be tidying up their affairs.’ Mr Bond’s legal firm Talbots Law in the Black Country is also offering local NHS staff free wills.

A&E nurse Amy Bywater, 30, has just made a will with Farewill. The mum-oftwo, who works at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, says: ‘I’ve thought about making a will in the past but I’ve never got round to it. Working on the frontline, it makes you think, you never know what may happen.’

Farewill chief executive Dan Garrett says: ‘We’ve seen demand for our services rise and we’ve done everything we can to meet it, taking on around 20 extra staff. As we saw enquiries from NHS workers grow steeply, we wanted to support them.’

Legal groups are also calling on the Government to relax restrictio­ns during the crisis to make it easier for someone to make a will.

Emily Deane, of the Society of Trust and Estate Practition­ers (Step), says: ‘We are urging the Government to temporaril­y reform the requiremen­t for two independen­t people to witness a will to ensure that people are not putting themselves at risk of contractin­g or spreading the virus in order to ensure a will is valid.’

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