How has the Pandemic changed how people look at Wills and LPAs?
The last 12 months have been like none other. Even for those who have...Back to News and Events
The last 12 months have been like none other. Even for those who have worked in this field longer than I have, the impact of Covid-19 on the work we do has been (for want of a less overused word!) unprecedented. As a department, we have had to adapt to how we work by seeing clients over ‘Zoom’, lots more telephone appointments and having so many of our colleagues working from home.
When we have seen clients in person, it has been vastly different – with strict policies in place to keep us safe, including limiting client numbers, robust booking procedures, compulsory face coverings and social distancing. It is certainly not how I envisaged helping my clients when I first started in this field.
I have also noticed some changes in the ways clients view the work we’re doing – not hugely surprising given the nature of the pandemic.
How clients’ views on Wills have changed.
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has been the ‘kick’ that a lot of clients have needed to sort out their Wills. So many people say to me that it’s been on their ‘to-do’ list for years, but have never got around to it. The pandemic has been the reminder that many needed that, despite our best efforts, we are all mortal.
I have also noticed a lot of younger people coming forward to make Wills. Whilst there has been no reduction in the over 50’s approaching the firm to make Wills, I have had an increased number of much younger people in their 20s coming forward. On a personal level, I made my first Will at 22! (I did have the slight advantage of being trained in Will drafting at Poole Alcock at the time!).
I think it’s so easy for younger people to put things like Wills to the back of their minds – chances are they have decades ahead of them. But, without wishing to cause alarm, we never know what the future holds. So if you’re thinking of sorting your Will, but keep putting it off – there is no time like the present! If not for anything else, then for peace of mind.
How views on Lasting Powers of Attorney have changed.
I’ve always been a big advocate of LPAs. I think they are very useful tools for preparing for the future. Not that the decision to put one in place should be taken lightly – they are very powerful documents that can be subject to abuse. But when done properly, they can be life savers for your loved ones who may be caring for you or helping you in the future.
It hasn’t been Covid per se that has changed people’s views on LPAs – but the various lock-downs and rules on self-isolation and shielding that have caused so much disruption to people’s every-day lives.
If you received a notification from the NHS test and trace that you needed to self-isolate for 10 days, you must stay home. You cannot go to the bank, you cannot pop to the shops. General ‘life’ becomes much more restricted. To add to that, if you don’t have access to the internet, so many services will be limited to you.
If an LPA for property and finances was already in place – set up, registered, and ready to use – then your attorney would be able to attend to those tasks on your behalf. Whether they be dealing with your bank, setting up new utilities, anything ‘official’ that may require assistance.
The LPA for health and welfare decisions may also be useful to those affected by the pandemic – this LPA can only be used by your attorneys if you don’t have capacity to make your own decisions any more. But should you be unfortunate enough to become particularly poorly during the pandemic, at least with this LPA in place you can be confident your best interests will be looked after by people you trust and have nominated in advance.
If you’ve also found that the pandemic has made you think a bit more seriously about planning ahead, please do get in touch. My colleagues and I have come across many clients, colleagues, family and friends who have experienced all sorts of hardship during the last 12 months. We can offer completely Covid-safe and compliant appointments to discuss your concerns confidentially and sympathetically.