The Taylor&Emmet Blog

Why you shouldn’t put off appointing a power of attorney

These are uncertain and worrying times, but as Hannah Montague highlights, the disruption to our usually busy lives means there’s no excuse for putting off making a will or Power of Attorney…

The ongoing pandemic has prompted many of us to reflect upon our own mortality and the importance of having our affairs in order.

This has caused a real upswing in the number of people contacting me and my colleagues to make a will or Power of Attorney and we are working hard to provide our usual high standards of service. Here are some of the most common queries we’ve received.

What should I be considering to ensure my affairs are in order?

The ever-increasing coronavirus death toll certainly sharpen one’s focus. If you wish to use this period to manage your affairs proactively, there are a number of issues to think about, namely:

· Do you have a will in place and is it up to date?

· Have you appointed guardians if you have children under the age of 18?

· When was the last time you reviewed your family’s exposure to inheritance tax?

· Have you made Lasting Powers of Attorney for property and finance and health and welfare? These allow you to appoint someone to act on your behalf if you are in ill health or lose mental capacity.

· If you already have a Power of Attorney in place, are you happy with the representatives nominated currently?

How can we draw up Lasting Powers of Attorney without a face to face meeting with a solicitor?

Please rest assured, we are doing our very best to support you and your family. We can offer appointments by telephone and where possible, videocall, to provide you with advice quickly and efficiently, whilst we continue to work from home.

How do we sign new wills in the current pandemic?

It is imperative that the correct procedure is followed, to ensure your will is valid and you stay safe and well.

Usually, your wills would be signed and witnessed at our offices, but in the current circumstances, we are asking clients to undertake the procedure at home. Signatures need to be added in the presence of two independent witnesses who are over the age of 18, not related to you and not named as beneficiaries.

Clearly, we do not want to put you or others in danger of infection, so please only follow the above procedure if it can be done within social distancing guidelines. For example, you could ask neighbours to witness your signatures in the garden or through an open window. Ensure everyone washes their hands, before and after signing and where possible, uses their own pens.

It is important both witnesses are present when your will is signed. The complete document should then be returned to us, without anything else attached, as this could compromise its validity further down the line.

To find out more about making or reviewing a will, why not book a free 30-minute consultation with one of our probate specialists? Call (0114) 218 4000, email: info@tayloremmet.co.uk or complete this form.

Hannah Montague

Hannah Montague is a solicitor in our wills and probate department. Hannah specialises in the administration of deceased estates, wills, powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications and advising the elderly. For more information on this topic email hannah.montague@tayloremmet.co.uk or call her on 0114 218 4342.

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