Law firms are busy coping with an upsurge in requests for new Wills and Powers of Attorney because of the Covid-19 pandemic and we are providing services remotely as we steer through these unprecedented times.
Laura Banks, a Senior Associate Solicitor in the Wills & Estates department at Thursfields, was commenting on how the health crisis has caused the general public at large to consider whether they have made the necessary plans for illness or death.
She said: “We’ve been working flat out to deal with Wills and Powers of Attorney instructions since the government’s urgent advice over Covid-19 began.
It’s always recommended that people have a Will which they keep regularly reviewed and updated, and Powers of Attorney which can deal with your finances and health decisions while you are alive are also an essential consideration.
But the worrying health crisis in recent days have brought these issues front of mind, resulting in the need for us to respond quickly and efficiently to many requests.”
Laura explained that if someone dies without making a valid Will, they are said to have died intestate which means that the law will determine who inherits their estate, and how much of it they inherit.
This means that since 6 February 2020, a spouse or civil partner will receive a statutory legacy of £270,000 plus the personal items of the deceased.
She said: “If there are no children, the spouse or civil partner would then inherit the whole of the rest of the estate, but, and this will come as a shock to many, this is not the case where there are children.
In that situation the spouse or civil partner will receive not the whole of the estate but only half of what is left after the legacy of £270,000, plus the personal items, with the other half going to the children.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the intestacy rules make no provision for a partner who is not your spouse or civil partner under a registered civil partnership.
Therefore, if you and your partner have lived together for 30 years but are not married or in a registered civil partnership and you have not made Wills, then your partner will receive nothing on your death under the intestacy rules.
For these reasons, it’s imperative that people have the right Wills in place, as well as up to date Powers of Attorney so that everything takes place the way people want it to with their finances should they become too ill to act for themselves.”
Laura said that should a full lockdown take place, or if clients were self-isolating, Thursfields was still able to offer advice and a full Will writing and Power of Attorney writingservice to clients.
She added: “Rather than having face-to-face meetings, we can offer remote meetings using Facetime or video calling through WhatsApp and similar online services that have been security-checked.
We can also carry out full electronic searches to satisfy all the identification requirements.
At these worrying times, Thursfields is making sure it’s always there and available for people, whatever restrictions are in place regarding personal contact.”
Anyone who needs to discuss Wills or Powers of Attorney can arrange an appointment by contacting Rachel Linton-Davis on 01905 677045 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.