The virus has proved one thing – the importance of making a Will. It has highlighted the need for people to have up-to-date Wills and lasting powers of attorney (LPAs).
Since changing the way we work under the new restrictions we have helped clients including front liners and elderly clients to make new Wills and LPAs. By working within the self isolation and self distancing rules we have been able to create for them a sense of being prepared for the future – in modern terms, an important box ticked.
Generally, our Wills stand the test of time very well, but there are always life changing events which may prompt the need for change. These include births, deaths, marriages, children attaining 18 (end of guardianship) and families ‘fallling out’.
Other key points include the fact that executors can get too old (or may be deceased). Is there a younger person who can step up?
Also, gifts to family and friends may need to be looked at. Have these gifts kept up with inflation, or are they too generous in today’s recessionary times?
There have been some changes to the tax laws (such as those introducing the residential nil rate band) which may need to be considered. Also, some highly regarded charities have emerged in recent years which may challenge those appointed in the old Wills.
Most of these changes can be dealt with economically by an alteration to the Wills.
LPAs have become very popular in recent years as people tend to live longer lives with the need for children (usually) to take recognised care for them. The areas covered are Property & Finance and Health & Care. We are happy to explain the benefits of LPAs and our role is to draft the documents, act as ‘Certificate Provider’ and obtain their validation by the Office of the Public Guardian.
The validation process is taking longer because of the effects of the pandemic, and we expect further delays once this is over. For this reason, we are advising elderly clients to go ahead with making and registering their LPAs without further delay.
The new NHS ‘opt out’ system for organ donation took effect on 20 May. This is a matter which we consider when advising older clients, and it is our practice to prepare an Advance Decision’ (setting out their medical treatment preferences) for the client to sign. We then send this to their GP asking for the information to be placed with their medical records.
Finally, we have updated our website, www.thewillbusiness.com with information about our service to clients, a blog and our contact information.