Whickham
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Whickham - Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
Cramlington - Monday to Friday 9am-5pm
24/7 Helpline - 365 Days

Coronavirus Help & Advice

Guidance for You

At this difficult and unprecedented time, it is natural that you may have concerns regarding the impact current events have had on our Family Law and Wills and Probate Services.

Although our offices remain closed, we are still continue to wrok remotely, and can continue to advise on current and new cases. We've put together a list of frequently asked questions as well as some helpful guidance to support you during this difficult time.

Don't forget, if you require expert advice please don't hestitate to Get In Touch - our phone lines are still operational and email is being monitored throughout the day.

Wills, LPOs and Trusts
Are you still offering Will writing?
Yes, our team are still working and can offer you advice and Will drafting. During this difficult time, we've extended our communication channels and can offer advice through telephone, email and video appointments via Zoom, WhatsApp and Facetime.
Can you prepare a Will without meeting me in person?
During this difficult time, we understand the importance of keeping our team and customers safe at all times by following the latest Government advice.

Our Team are currently working remotely and we can still offer you expert advice and Will preparation. We've removed the need to meet with you face-to-face and will be happy to conduct appointments via telephone or a convenient video calling app including Zoom, WhatsApp or Facetime.

To arrange an appointment, enter your details on Get In Touch and we'll call you straight back. Alternatively, call our Team on 0191 5009337 or 01670 707338 during office hours.
How do I recieve my Will?
We will post all documentation via Royal Mail. Alternatively, we can also send any documentation via email which can then be printed at home.
Do I still need a witness?
Yes, your Will still needs to be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses as required by Law. The witnesses will need to be aged 18 or over and must not be a beneficiary (our spouse of the beneficiary) to the Will.

When you receive your Will (either by post or via email to print) this will still need to be signed by yourself in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses will also need to sign to say that they have witnessed you signing the document, and provide their details. Unfortunately, this does need to be conducted in person and it's understandable during this time that this may prove difficult - especially as beneficiaries (most likely people within your household) are unable to act as witnesses.

Although there is no current guidance in place, it may be acceptable to witness the signing of a Will through a window etc as long as social distancing rules are observed. Please let us know if there are any issues, and we will be able to advise further.
Are you able to provide witnesses?
Unfortunately, our offices are closed and we are unable to offer this service. Please speak to your solicitor to discuss any issues with witnessing or signing of the Will and we will be able to advise further.
Do I need to sign my Will?
By Law, for a Will to be legally valid, it must be correctly signed and witnessed. In the event of your death, your estate will be distributed based on any previously valid Will. If there is no Will in place, then the Rules of Intestacy will apply. Please speak to us if you require any further clarification.
Do you offer a fast-track service?
During this difficult time, we understand that there is an increased requirement for people to have a Will in place, and we may be able to offer a fast-track service depending on the circumstances. Please speak to our Team to discuss your requirements at the earliest opportunity.
Where can I find additional information?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has published a list of frequently asked questions relating to Wills during this time. You can visit https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/coronavirus-qa for further information.

Child Arrangement Orders
What happens to child arrangements?
Arrangements should continue as these are vital to the well-being of the child by ensuring structure and routine. Child Arrangement Orders remain valid during this time and should continue as ordered.
Can we change arrangements?
Arrangements can always be varied if both parties agree. This can be changed even if the arrangements are court ordered. Make a not of any changes, including long-term or short-term. If a court order is in place, these can be varied by consent.
I have a specific question, can you advise further?
Absolutely, our team will be happy to advise on any family legal issues and child arrangement orders during this time. Please call 0191 5009337 or 01670 707338 during office hours to arrange an appointment.
Where can I find additional information?
For those parents whose children are subject to Child Arrangement Order, the Government have issued new guidance and advice at this time. Please visit https://www.judiciary.uk/announcements/coronavirus-crisis-guidance-on-compliance-with-family-court-child-arrangement-orders/ for more information.

Our Latest Position

Updated 18 April 2020 at 13:35

Our offices remain closed to the public, however, are continuing to provide a full service to all our clients, both longstanding and new.

Please note that both our Whickham and Cramlington office phone lines remain open and we are endeavouring to answer all of your calls as quickly as possible. Please note that we are operating with a smaller number of support staff at this time so if you are unable to get through to us please also use our out of hours number 01915009338

During this difficult time, our team will continue to work remotely during this period and limited members of staff are working from the office in isolation from one another with full access to our systems and will continue to provide you with a seamless service. We are continuing to offer the following:

  • Telephone appointments
  • Video appointments (via Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime)
  • Ongoing legal advice and matter progression via telephone, email, video calls, conference calls
  • Free initial consultations for new clients via telephone or video call
  • Regular communication with your legal team
  • Fully secure access to all necessary documentation
  • Easy payment options so you can budget more easily. Payments can be made online or on the telephone with a member of our accounts team

We appreciate your co-operation and would like to reassure all our clients that we will continue to do everything we can to support you during this time.

Helen Holmes - Principal
helen@holmesfamilylaw.co.uk

Coronavirus Help & Advice

Our offices remain closed to the public, however, we are continuing to provide a full service to all our clients, both longstanding and new. During this difficult time, our team will continue to work remotely and our phone lines remain open. We are endeavouring to answer all of your calls as quickly as possible.
We've put together a list of frequently asked questions as well as some helpful guidance to support you during this difficult time.