The ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic is causing anxiety for us all. Whatever your age and personal circumstances, the recent Government Guidelines have caused a lot of us to feel that we are moving backwards rather than forwards and especially heading into winter, many of us are concerned about what the future may bring for us personally and for our families.
Many of you have been in touch with us asking about how your legal affairs can be put in order during the Coronavirus Pandemic in a safe and straightforward way so we have put together this guide which we hope will answer some of your questions during this difficult and challenging time.
Am I able to make a Will during the Coronavirus Pandemic?
At Boyletts Law we are continuing to provide a full service to all our clients. We have procedures in place to be able to meet with our clients by way of virtual face to face meetings, or at the office in Covid-safe surroundings.
We can take your instructions initially over the telephone, during a virtual meeting by video call or at the office (by appointment). We will then provide you with a draft of your Will, together with our full letter of advice by post. Then we can discuss your Will again over the telephone and make any alterations or amendments you may require. You can also begin this process by starting your Will online on our website.
We understand that we are living in unprecedented times and therefore, we are happy to work with you to find a way to take your instructions to create your Will and complete the witnessing of your Will in a way which complies with the law and also suits your circumstances and helps to keep you feeling safe.
Is it possible to witness my Will signing with social distancing and other COVID safety measures?
We understand that the witnessing of a Will has caused a lot of anxiety for our clients and therefore we have found ways to accommodate the strict rules of witnessing, together with keeping you safe during the pandemic.
The witnessing of your Will is very important as this makes sure it is a legally valid document. You must have two witnesses when signing your Will and this can be done in several ways.
We can of course complete the witnessing of your Will at our office, either inside under Covid-safe measures or alternatively, outside our office at a safe social distance. If you would rather not attend our office we can arrange to witness your Will through the window of your home, with our team wearing masks and gloves, or even in your garden at a safe social distance.
There have been recent changes in the law so that Wills can be witnessed by online meetings, (known as a Zoom call). We can arrange the witnessing of your Will by a Zoom meeting if you wish and this is something that we could discuss in more detail over the telephone.
It is possible for you to remain at home whilst your Will is witnessed and this can be done outside at a safe social distance, or even through the window to your home. If you are comfortable, of course, witnessing can always take place at the office with full Covid-safety restrictions in place.
How can I conduct my financial affairs if I am unable to leave the house?
This is a common question and one we are being asked more and more during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document which will enable you to appoint a person of your choice, to act on your behalf in connection with your financial affairs. This document has proved extremely useful during the Coronavirus Pandemic, as many of our clients have been unable to carry out their normal day to day affairs due to being unable to leave the house.
By creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, the person you appoint will be able to step into your shoes and deal with all of your bills, shopping, bank transactions and any other financial matters you may require assistance with.
In creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, you choose who you would like to look after your affairs. This could be a spouse, family member, friend or even a professional such as a Lawyer. Your Attorneys cannot do whatever they like, and they must act in accordance with a strict set of guidelines.
Can I make a Will if I have dementia?
Anyone who wants to make a Will must have testamentary capacity. For the purposes of making a Will, this means that you must be able to understand the following: –
- What making a Will means and the effect it will have.
- What you own and how this might change, including what you own or may own in the future.
- Who might expect to be named in your Will and why you are choosing to either leave or not leave things to them.
If you have been diagnosed with dementia and want to make a change to an existing Will or make a new Will, you must be able to show that your dementia does not affect the ability to make decisions about your Will.
There is a golden rule that if someone has dementia or a condition which might cause an impairment of the mind, it is always best practice to get a letter from a medical professional confirming that you are able to make a Will.
In order to protect you and your Will, if you have had a recent diagnosis of dementia or any other condition which could affect the way you make decisions, we would ask for you to obtain a letter from your GP in support of your wishes.
How much does it cost to make a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney?
At Boyletts Law we charge a fixed fee for all our services. Our charges for a simple Will are £150 plus VAT and a more complex Will £395 plus VAT. The cost of a Will is always dependent on how complex your affairs are and if for any reason we felt that these prices need to be adjusted, we will of course let you know prior to any meeting.
Our fee for a Lasting Power of Attorney is £395 plus VAT.
Our fees are inclusive of all meetings and telephone calls so you do not need to worry about telephoning us to ask us questions regarding your Will or LPA during or after the process as there will not be any additional charges.