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Dealing with wills and LPAs whilst social distancing

View profile for Claire Read
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Dealing with wills and LPAs whilst social distancing

The experiences I have had with dealing with wills and LPAs whilst social distancing...  If you need it changed or otherwise just let me know.

There is no change in sight for the relaxation of the rules regarding the witnessing of wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney.

With Professor Chris Whitty stating that it is likely that we will need to social distance for some time, it is important that we can continue to help and assist our clients with such important documents in a time where, unfortunately, they may be needed most.  

With regard to wills, we have been able to help clients by taking instructions by video call or in some circumstances by telephone.  We have also undertaken virtual will signing appointments using Facetime, WhatsApp, or Microsoft Teams.  

By having a virtual will signing, we are able to guide our clients through the signing process and to check that the wills are signed correctly.  If a will is not signed correctly, then it will be invalid which means either your previous will becomes live again (provided it was not destroyed) or the intestacy rules apply.  

In my latest will signing, my client and the two witnesses were in the garden observing social distancing rules.  My client placed the phone in a position where I could see and I was able to guide all of them through the witnessing process and check that it was done in accordance with the strict rules.  

The most important aspect of signing any will whilst social distancing is to ensure that there is a clear line of sight for all those that are signing and everyone watches each other sign. 

 If you have not reviewed your will, now is as good a time as any to do so and we are here for you to help. 

Lasting Powers of Attorney

With regard to Lasting Powers of Attorney, these are even more important now with the lockdown.  

If you have not got both documents in place, then you may not be able to get the assistance you need to help with your finances or the persons of your choosing may not be able to make decisions about your medical treatment.  

Unfortunately, the law provides that no employee of the care home can be a witness to a Lasting Power of Attorney and as a result, it means that very few residents in care homes can have the documents prepared.  Due to the lockdown most care homes do not wish to allow any visitors to come into contact with the residents or be on the premises, even at a distance.  

However, we have worked with care homes to be able to set up a video call and take instructions for Lasting Powers of Attorney.  If you have not made Lasting Powers of Attorney, now is the time to do so or if you have a loved one in a residential care home get in contact and we can help.

I am working from home, but available to talk if you need any further advice on the probate process. 

If you have a question, I would much rather you ask it and we spend some time having a free chat, than not. I can be contacted on 01245 453835 or claire.read@birkettlong.co.uk

 

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