Yesterday, on 6 August 2020, the Government published the above White Paper. The purpose of the White Paper is to do the following: “Planning for the future, landmark reforms to speed up and modernise the planning system and get the country building”.
With Covid-19 all around us, it's hard not to be faced with our own mortality and for many people, they are faced with Wills that are out-of-date – or the fact they do not have Wills and would like to.
So how, in a social distant world, can you still make your Will with proper advice?
We recognise that these uncertain times, more than ever, mean people are looking for timely and available professional advice – and we are pleased to be able to offer a range of options for you to consider.
Initial advice meetings can take place over the phone, skype or by Facetime/WhatsApp video call. Documents can be prepared and drafts sent via email (ideally) or post (if needed) and any follow-up queries can be dealt with like an initial appointment or via email.*
What if my circumstances are challenging?
Depending on the nature of your instructions and circumstances, we may need to advise you that we are not best placed to assist you or limit the nature of our advice and support to document production only. This could, for example, be where there is a risk of challenge to the content of the legal documents in the event of your death or mental incapacity.
The lawyer you speak to will assess and determine whether or not your situation is one that would benefit from a face-to-face meeting or can be facilitated in our current socially distant environment and set out the options available to you.
What if mental capacity is an issue?
If you are thinking of a friend or family member who might lack capacity, or you have had a recent diagnosis such as early-stage dementia, it may be possible for a mental capacity assessment to also take place over Skype or Facetime but this will depend on the circumstances of the case.
We won’t always be able to help – but we will do our best!
Whilst we will assist you wherever we can, we are living in unprecedented times and there will be occasions where we are unable to assist you or are not best placed to assist you – we will refer you on wherever possible or otherwise set out your options or the consequences of your current Will or intestacy arrangements.
Signing your Will
When it comes to signing your Will, two witnesses will be needed – but this can take place at a socially distant length – effectively in the same room but at opposite ends, over two metres away to ensure government guidelines are followed – or maybe even outside?
With effective hand hygiene before and after a Will is signed and maintaining appropriate distance whilst witnesses such as neighbours are still able to see what is going on, hopefully your Will arrangements can still be facilitated.
*proof of your identity as a client is needed. In the event that your initial meeting is able to take place is a visual format such as Skype, facetime or Whatsapp video, you will be able to send a photo of your ID to us to comply with our regulatory obligations. We will then undertake a ‘SmartSearch’ to confirm your ID.
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