Dealing with Covid 19
The Coronavirus has had an impact on how Legal Services are provided. This is particularly the case in areas where face to face contact with a client is important to ensure that the client has the level of capacity required and that they are not being unduly influenced by some other person.
For the preparation of Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney, it is essential to meet the client to discuss their needs and requirements at the outset and to deal with any questions or uncertainties before proceeding. For Wills, I do offer clients the option of completing a Will Questionnaire and can prepare a draft of the Will based around that Questionnaire. But this may not always be appropriate in all cases.
There is also the issue of how a Will is witnessed. For a Will to be validly executed, the testator must sign it in the presence of two independent witnesses (i.e. persons that are not beneficiaries or executors in the Will, or a close relative of the testator), who lust then sign the will in the presence of the testator and each other and print their full name address and occupation. A solicitor does not necessarily need to be present for the execution of the Will and if I am not present I will make sure that I provide you with full instructions on the practice to be followed. I will also ask you to send or email a copy of the executed Wills so that I can check that the procedures have been followed correctly.
Executing a Will, while maintaining social distancing, can be difficult, especially if the testator is a vulnerable person who is self-isolating. If you have any concerns about meeting with me or having your Will executed please let me know so that we can discuss how best to resolve these issues.
With regard to the preparation and execution of Lasting Powers of Attorney, the donor and the chosen attorney do not need to sign the LPA's within sight of each other, but they do need to have their signature witnessed. The person signing to certify that the donor has the required mental capacity does not need to be in the presence of the donor when signing the document but must have had contact with the donor fairly recently to enable them to provide that certificate. The Certificate provider can be a solicitor and provided I have met with the donor and there are no doubts in my mind as to their capacity, I am happy to sign this page.
Because of the Coronavirus, the Registration of LPA's is likely to take much longer to complete than would usually have been the case.