With social distancing, self-isolation and the key threat of Coronavirus, it is a deeply worrying and potentially lonely time for all of us. It has been heartening to see many examples of the country continuing to soldier on regardless creating solutions to deal with the restrictions.
This creativity and spirit has also been needed in the workplace and particularly in the area of Wills. This area of law is one which relies on face-to-face meetings between legal advisors and their clients, such as in needing the physical presence of the Will-maker and two witnesses to put the document in place at the end of the process. As you can imagine, the current climate has seen a sharp increase in those wanting to ensure that their affairs are in order, but many of you who have requested our help are elderly, vulnerable or self-isolating. So, how do you put a Will in place but ensure that you are not at risk in doing so?
Sussex Law, are committed to doing whatever we can to help you in this tricky time and to give you peace of mind. Our solution to this dilemma has been to take instructions from you over the ‘phone or by Skype and, then, to act as your witnesses….at your door or through your window.
We have already been visiting you around the Brighton standing at back doors and in gardens to witness the signing of your Wills and are happy to keep helping you in this way for as long as this crisis needs.
If you are concerned to get your affairs in order in a Will but are unable or are worried about leaving your home, please contact us. We will do our utmost to help.
Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney, are legal documents registered with the Court of Protection enabling you to appoint representatives to act on your behalf.
Registering a lasting power of
attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone you trust, known as your attorney,
the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. This could be because you
no longer wish to make decisions for yourself, or in future you are not able to
make those decisions.
No one automatically has the right to deal with your bank accounts and pensions, or to make decisions about your health and social care should you lose the capacity and are unable to make these decisions for yourself.
By making Lasting Powers of Attorney you are able to appoint nominated persons to act on your behalf, should the need arise. You may limit the power as much or as little as you want
Whilst you still have capacity, you are able to appoint nominated persons to act on your behalf if the need arose. You may limit the power as much, or as little as you want, we are able to include ways to safeguard you and your assets.
There are two different types of LPA, one covering Property and Financial decisions, and one covering decisions about your wellbeing. You are able to make just one or both, and you can always make another if needed.
Property and Financial Affairs
Lasting Powers of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs, allow your attorneys to make financial decisions for you. This can be whilst you still have capacity, but are struggling to deal with day to day running of your property or financial affairs.
Circumstances where the document could be used are:
- Selling or purchasing property on your behalf
- Opening, closing or managing bank accounts
- Paying your bills and expenses
- Dealing with tax issues
- Claiming benefits
You are able to specify the scope of your Attorneys involvement, and you can specify that the document only be used once you have lost capacity.
Health and Welfare
Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare, allow your attorneys to make decisions about your wellbeing only when you do not have the capacity to do so. This also covers when you are ill, or you are in a medical situation (such as being unconscious) where you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
This power can also extend to decisions about Life Sustaining Treatment if you wish.
Types of decisions that can be made are:
- Consent to give/refuse medical treatments.
- Where you live, and who you have contact with
- Your daily care, to include diet and dress
It is important to note, Attorneys will not be able to act for you if you did still have capacity to make these decisions for yourself.
Single Basic Will: £200+ VAT
Joint Basic Will: £350+ VAT
Living Will: £200+ VAT
Trust Wills: starting at £400+ VAT
LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY
For a single person
Health & Welfare only: £275+ VAT
Property & Financial Affairs only: £275+ VAT
Both Types of LPA: £500+ VAT
Have peace of mind • Protect your assets
Please Contact our helpful and friendly
team for more information
01273 561 312 www.sussexlawsolicitors.com
Ensuring your wishes are followed is vital and getting the right person to prepare your Will gives you the peace of mind.
At Sussex Law, our expert team take all circumstances into consideration and provide advice to meet your needs.
Sussex Law also specialises in Estate Administration
and Conveyancing matters.
COVID-19 WILLS UPDATE
Just because of the restrictions bought about by Covid-19, it does not mean it is now too late to draw up a Will.
In order to protect our clients and staff we are now conducting our Will appointments by telephone or via skype, rather than undertaking a face to face meeting.
Once you have approved your Will, we will arrange for the finalised copy to be delivered to your door and we will witness you signing your Will on your doorstep. This will ensure we can observe “social distancing” This is for your safety and the safety of our staff.
Do not let Covid-19 restrict you from having a Will. It is probably more important now than ever.
Please call to speak to either Sally or Linda today to discuss further on 01273 561312 or email email@example.com
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
Lasting Powers of Attorney, are legal documents registered with the Court of Protection enabling you to appoint representatives to act on your behalf. (more…)
The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal. (more…)
ADVICE IN RESPECT OF CONVEYANCING MATTERS IN LIGHT OF COVID 19 VIRUS
A number of our conveyancing clients are making enquiries due to the uncertainties surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty with regards to exchange and completion.
The Law Society have now published guidance in relation to COVID 19 and full details can be found on the link as set out below:-
There are currently no new conveyancing procedures available to deal with any issues arising as a result of the Coronavirus and the terms of your Contract will continue to prevail. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep up to date with the Government’s and Law Society’s advice.
Our offices remain open at the present time. Whilst we are open, we will be safeguarding the well being of our clients and our staff. We have put a number of steps in place to ensure that we help keep our staff, clients and the wider community as safe as possible during these uncertain times.
Going forward, we have systems in place and staff are able to work remotely from home if necessary.
We have a general policy that is being implemented with regards to clients’ appointments.
All pre-arranged visits will be kept to a minimum and we will have “distancing” measures in place. Where possible, we would prefer to carry out any appointments that do not require “face to face meetings” by “Skype”.
In addition, we would ask that all clients make an appointment if they wish to attend the office for any reason. In line with other companies we have also implemented a “no handshaking” policy to avoid any unnecessary personal contact.
If you do attend the office, we will be seeking confirmation as to whether you have within the last 14 days been in self-isolation due to suspected symptoms or Coronavirus or have self-isolated due to contact with someone with suspected symptoms of Coronavirus. We will also require confirmation as to whether you have travelled abroad within the last 14 days including details as to where you have travelled to/from.
A person’s Will may be the single most important legal document they ever prepare. But, they will not be alive to see it come into effect.
A Will deals with what someone owns, who is to get it, wishes for funeral arrangements, requests in relation to guardianship of any minor children, and the people trusted to bring that all into effect. The importance of the document really can’t be overstated, but statistics show that many people are in the dark about the important function a Will performs, or do not wish to face up to their own mortality by contemplating their death.
Recent research by Royal London and Macmillan Cancer Support has found that:
• As many as 54% of adults do not have a Will;
• 1.5 million people who did have a Will in place may have accidentally voided it by getting married since making that Will; and
• 5.4 million adults have no idea how to go about making their Will.
Making a Will is not the end of the story however. A Will is only of use if the original can be located after the Will maker has died. Sadly, finding the original Will is not always easy.
Most clients are advised by their solicitors to leave the original Will with the firm, and to let their family and executors know where the original is held. In that way, the firm can keep the document securely and ensure that it is only released to the correct executors after the Will maker’s death. The firm is also then able to advise the executors on the process of administration. The difficulty with this arrangement is that the firm may move, merge or close making it difficult to track down the Will years later (although the Solicitors Regulation Authority should be able to help to identify what has happened to a firm).
Not all clients choose to leave their original Will with solicitors though – sometimes preferring to keep the original at home, or with their bank. These arrangements can be risky as people often misplace the document, accidentally throw it away, or change banks without claiming the documents held. This can make administration of the deceased’s estate much more complicated, as the executors will have to try to locate the original document. If it cannot be found, this might leave open questions about whether it was intentionally destroyed or simply lost – and if the latter, then the executors may have to try to admit a draft or reconstructed copy to the Probate Registry for approval. These applications can involve a lot of additional cost and time delays which could otherwise have been avoided.
Recent headlines about the great Aretha Franklin’s estate have shown how easily documents can be lost. Ms Franklin had been involved in litigation in her later years, and apparently the relationship with her legal advisers had broken down. Possibly as a result of this poor relationship, Ms Franklin chose to prepare handwritten documents herself instead of a final single professionally drafted Will. When she died, her family and solicitors found three different documents. Two of the documents were found locked away in a safe at Ms Franklin’s home, with a further document hidden in the home under a pile of cushions. The documents themselves are now likely to be subject to scrutiny in order to determine whether they are valid Wills, but at least being able to find them at all means Ms Franklin’s last wishes can be known and considered.
The simplest method to make sure a Will is secure is to leave it with the solicitor who prepared it, and to notify family and executors where it is. It may be worth providing a photocopy to the executors directly. Registration of the Will using Certainty the National Will Register is also a great idea to ensure the will can be found. Certainty the National Will Register is the Law Society of England Wales endorsed provider of a National Will Register where Will makers record that they have made a Will, and where the original Will is located. Family and executors can request a search of the National Will Register and easily find the document. The costs of such a search would ordinarily be treated as an estate expense, and so paid from the estate funds rather than by the executors personally.
Preparing a Will is an important step in the estate planning process. Registering the document and notifying the relevant parties is the best way to ensure that the effort of preparing the Will is not wasted.
Who should make a Will?
If you want to make sure your wishes are followed on your death, you should make a Will. If you die without one, the rules of intestacy will decide; who looks after your children, who inherits your assets, and who administers your estate. This may mean (more…)
Diversity makes for a broader, richer environment that produces more creative thinking and solutions. We believe that promoting diversity is essential to the success of our firm. It is also the right thing to do.
After a wet morning the weather cleared leaving a well organised and well attended duck fayre. Well done to the organisers. We will see you all next year. If you missed us then you can still claim 10% off any of our wills or Lasting powers of attorney if you are a local Patcham resident!
Coping with loss
A guide for executors
Registering the death
If the death is not referred to a coroner, you need to make an appointment with the Registrar of Births and Deaths within 5 days.
The Registrar will give you:
- A certificate for a burial or cremation (known as the green form), which you give to the funeral director.
- A certificate of registration of death, form BD8. Which you may need to show to the Department for Works and Pensions.
- A death certificate. It is a good idea to ask for extra copies, each asset holder will require sight of this. There will be a minimal charge for each copy.