COVID-19: HOW WE CAN HELP YOU WITH WILLS AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY
- AuthorClaire Holland
There are many things to think and worry about at the moment, but something which may be causing you particular concern is whether your Will is up to date, or how you can put a Will in place if you do not already have one. It is definitely not too late, and we can help you tick this concern off your list.
Despite the lock down, the Law Society recognises lawyers carrying out Private Client work as key workers, and our systems allow us to work away from the office securely, so we are all working from home where possible as well as safely maintaining a skeleton staff at our offices in the centre of Cheltenham.
If you need to update your Will or make a new one, although we cannot see you face to face, there are many ways in which we can take your instructions. Our experienced team of solicitors can take instructions from you by post, over the phone or by video conference on one of the many platforms that are available.
Despite the restrictions on face to face meetings, we can help with the strict requirements for executing your Will. We can explain to you how to go about this under the current restrictions and can assist with practicalities depending on your circumstances.
Although your new Will will be perfectly valid if you follow our instructions, we can in due course, arrange a meeting to check and re-execute your Will after the lock down has ended if you instruct us to do so.
Please get in touch to discuss and if you are aware of an elderly friend or relative who may be worrying about their Will, please do encourage them to contact us by telephone and we can take matters from there.
Powers of Attorney
You might be wondering about how you can deal with your financial affairs if you are stuck at home and find dealing with online banks or financial institutions difficult. Similarly you may be worrying about elderly friends or relatives in this situation and want to be able to help them.
If mental capacity is not in issue, anyone can create a Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’), whereby they appoint one or more trusted people to deal with their finances for them. These people can manage your affairs on your behalf even whilst you still have mental capacity. For example, they can deal with banks and financial institutions online or on the phone and, where circumstances allow, go into banks for you.
LPAs cannot be used until they are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The OPG has is still operating, although it has advised that delays may be experienced. Its website advises that it aims to turn around registration applications within its usual 40 working days.
If you feel that 8 weeks is too long to wait to have someone to assist with your financial affairs you can consider in the interim putting in place another document called a General Power of Attorney.
This is a document that we can draw up for you which temporarily lets someone you choose manage your finances for you. As soon as it is signed and witnessed correctly, the attorney/s will be able to deal with your finances. Once the LPA is registered we can revoke the General Power of Attorney.
The reason you should apply for an LPA as well as drawing up a General Power is that the General Power will be automatically revoked if you were to lose mental capacity. The General Power of Attorney is therefore best used as a stop gap arrangement whilst you are waiting for the LPA to be registered.
Again, we can again take instructions over the phone or by video conference, and can offer practical advice and assistance regarding the execution of these documents and forms. We are also able to act as the required ‘Certificate Provider’ for your LPA.
Please contact us on 01242 574244 or email us.