Talking to friends and family it seems that the Covid-19 outbreak means those who are still able to work are much busier than usual, whilst others who have been furloughed or who can’t work, are finding themselves with a lot of time of their hands.
Whichever camp you fall into, this pandemic is an excellent reminder as to why it’s important to put your legal affairs in order.
Making A Will
Never has it been more important to have an up to date Will in place. This job is often put off as it can be unpleasant to think about but it’s currently one of the most essential documents we can have. If you die without having a Will in place then your estate will pass according to the rules of intestacy. These only allow certain relatives to inherit up to an upper limit.
The rules make no provision for funeral wishes or gifts of personal possession to your loved ones.
Even if you have a Will, unless it’s legally valid, the rules of intestacy will still apply.
During Covid-19 arrangements are in place for signing Wills so the entire process can be handled remotely with no need to meet in person.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
A Lasting Power of Attorney gives someone else permission to make decisions on your behalf. These may be financial and/or related to your health and welfare.
Decisions about your health will only be made by the person in your LPA if you lack mental capacity yourself. However the LPA may allow the third person to help you make financial decisions whilst you still have mental capacity as long as this stated in the document itself.
Pre/Post Nuptial and Cohabitation Agreements
For some couples their planned wedding this year has sadly had to be postponed. Others may have rushed into living with their partner before “lockdown” without giving this much thought.
The personal and financial impact of Covid-19 is a reminder of how difficult it can be to have certainty in life.
All of the above agreements are intended to avoid disputes and costly litigation at a later stage in life by recording how you want assets to be treated in the unhappy event that the relationship does not work out. They can (and should) be reviewed regularly to make sure they reflect any changes in circumstance and your current wishes. This can save significant legal fees later on.
At Hewetts we have teams who can help by advising and preparing all of these documents for you. Whilst the current outbreak remains a threat, we are asking clients to have meetings over the telephone or by Skype, rather than in person. If for any reason you are required to sign documents we will make appropriate arrangements. Please be assured that as we are already set up for home based working all of our solicitors have the facilities and equipment to work remotely which has been in use for a number of years. We have stringent security systems in place so your privacy will remain as a high as if we were operating from our offices. Therefore the coronavirus should not impact on your case or transaction as we shall be working on them as vigorously as ever.
Published on 04/05/2020