Current events are unprecedented and we are all being challenged to find solutions to issues that we have never been confronted with before. Face-to-face meetings between a solicitor and client are a typical feature when making a Will or Power of Attorney, but that is becoming more and more difficult to do. You can view our new YouTube video on this topic here.
At Harper Macleod our aim remains to service the needs of both our existing and new clients and we have been working on practical ways to allow us to continue to help you keep your Will and Power of Attorney arrangements up to date.
What can I do to get my affairs in order during the coronavirus outbreak?
Make a Will
The best way to ensure that your estate is dealt with in the way you wish is to take legal advice and make a Will. Depending on circumstances, we are able to take instructions from you in a variety of ways including over the phone, via email or by video call. We can then send you a draft and a full explanation of the terms of your Will and our advice. Arrangements can then be made to discuss and sign the documents after assessing how this can best be done, depending on each individual set of circumstances. This may be through video call, a meeting with appropriate barriers in place (maybe even through a window!) or some other method.
Grant a Power of Attorney
For a Power of Attorney (POA) to be valid, it is essential that a solicitor or doctor interviews the person making the POA (the granter) to ensure they have the capacity to do so. Guidance issued today from the Law Society of Scotland has suggested that we take instructions and send a draft in the way outlined above. We will then assess how the signing of the documents can best be completed depending on each set of circumstances. If, as is increasingly likely, a home visit is not possible, we could arrange for video-conferencing, FaceTime or Skype so that the granter can be interviewed and also display to the solicitor that the Power of Attorney is not yet signed. Once the solicitor is satisfied that the granter can do so, the granter would sign (preferably in the presence of a witness, who would also sign) and return the POA to the solicitor who would complete the Certificate. This is a departure from the usual procedure in that the solicitor would usually act as witness as well as sign the Certificate to demonstrate the contemporaneous nature of certifying capacity and the signing of the document.
We're here to help
This pandemic has shown us many things, not least that we all need to work together to keep our lives running as safely and smoothly as possible and we will work with you to ensure that happens.
It is our aim to continue with the legal services that we provide, taking all necessary precautions to assist our existing and prospective clients. There are ways we can do that safely for all concerned.
Please contact us to find the solution that works best for you. We will continue to work as best we can, which may not be within the usual office setting. But in the immortal words of the film Gregory's Girl …
"If we don’t see you through the week, we'll see you through the window!"
Get in touch
Should you wish to discuss the issues raised above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Harper Macleod:
Elgin: 01343 542623
We have solicitors and offices across the country and are ready to help in person or over the phone.
We can provide the assistance you need to protect your assets and your loved ones. This will allow you to put your mind at ease, knowing everything is in hand.