The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a rise in the number of Wills and LPA enquiries. The current lockdown presents challenges to Wills and Probate Services. However, with advances in technology and temporary law changes, the team have been able to ensure it's business as usual.
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It is often the case at any challenging moment in life people spend time thinking about whether they have prepared appropriately to protect their loved ones, one of those jobs on the to do list can often be your Wills. It is that job on your to do list that just never gets around to being done. People are obviously spending more time at home at the moment and this has given them the chance to focus their minds on those tasks that they would normally put off. It is therefore not surprising that we are seeing an increase in enquiries about Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
There have been some small hurdles during the early stages of the pandemic whilst the industry looked to adapt and change how they operated in these times of need. Especially to ensure that people can continue to have their Wills and LPAs drafted and executed whilst adhering to all the rules and laws that ensure validity and the necessary protection and safety for all parties.
At Hawksford, we have been taking instructions from our global client base for many years. It has always been important to us to ensure that we are able to deliver service to the same high standards for both the clients that get to meet us in the office and those that only get to see us over video. As technology has advanced, we have been able to take instructions by FaceTime, Skype and Microsoft Teams, allowing people the opportunity to see us face to face without risking their health.
We have been witnessing Wills and LPAs in the client’s garden, patio and through windows, leaving documents at a central point to ensure that no one is too close to the other as we orchestrate a small dance around the garden to keep everyone at a safe distance. Making sure that we witness the signature of the person making the Will is very important, so long as each party can see the other person sign from a safe distance then we are complying with the legal requirements. We are taking all the necessary safety precautions in making sure we are wearing protective masks, gloves that are used only once, keeping a safe distance and asking clients to bring their own pens so we don’t need to share.
As of the 23rd April 2020, Jersey passed a temporary change to the Law to allow the signing and witnessing of Wills and swearing of Oaths for probate via video link. We are now therefore able to arrange witnessing via video call for those clients that do not wish to have any contact with third parties outside their household, those that are too vulnerable to be seen or to those in countries where the laws simply do not allow any contact with third parties. This temporary change is only in force until 30th September 2020.
This change in law also allows us to obtain Probate or Letters of Administration via video link removing the need to be physically present at the Probate Registry. You may not wish to obtain the grant or Letters of Administration yourself in person or via video link – we are always able to do that for you.
Our delegate and attorney services are vital for many of our clients who do not have family or access to help. With their authority we are able to ensure that whilst they are able to stay at home safe, we can continue to help them with their daily tasks, such as paying their bills and keeping their essential day to day life running.
At Hawksford, we are making sure that through these difficult times business carries on in our “new normal” manner but protecting everyone’s health and safety as a priority. Whether this is for drafting Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney or our Probate Services - we are able to assist you from afar.
If you would like to discuss what we can do to help you and protect your loved ones please do just give us a call. We will do everything possible to ensure you have the peace of mind you need at these difficult times.
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