The spread of the Covid-19 virus has completely changed the world in an unprecedented way within a matter of weeks. We are currently experiencing a national emergency and, in doing our part to tackle this deadly virus, many of us will now be at home actively implementing the Government’s requirement of social distancing and self-isolation.
With the uncertainty that lays ahead of us, it is imperative now more than ever to ensure that your estate planning documents are up to date. In particular, if you already have a Will you should review this to ensure it is in accordance with your current wishes. You may have done your Will many years ago and your circumstances could have changed considerably since then. This may not necessarily be reflected in your Will.
If you do not have a Will, it is strongly advisable that you put one in place to ensure that the people or organisations you care for the most benefit from your estate in the event of your death. Where a person dies without a Will, the statutory ‘intestacy rules’ govern who will inherit your estate and your assets may not pass to those individuals whom you wish to benefit.
It is equally important to ensure you have Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) to deal with your financial affairs and health care decisions, especially if you fall within the category of those at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19.
An LPA for financial affairs gives another person or persons (known as your “attorney(s)”) the authority to deal with your bank accounts and property if you are unable to do so yourself. If you are within the ‘high risk’ category or are in self-isolation or quarantine, it may become impossible to manage your day-to-day finances and appointing a trusted person to deal with such matters would go a long way to assist you if you find yourself in a position where you cannot do this yourself.
An LPA for healthcare decisions allows your appointed attorney(s) to make decisions such as your medical treatment and particularly life sustaining treatment decisions. This is highly relevant given the current developing situation and gives you the opportunity to make your end of life wishes known.
These are challenging times and you should make the most of the time you have at home to get your affairs in order so that if the worse were to happen, you have the peace of mind in knowing your personal matters are taken care of and your loved ones are looked after.
Whilst we at Bishop & Sewell LLP are doing our part in exercising social distancing by working remotely, we have full access to our systems and can assist you in getting your estate planning documents in order during this difficult time.
Shelina is a Solicitor in our Private Client team. She has expertise in dealing with all aspects of private client work including Will drafting, the administration of Estates, Court of Protection matters, preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney and general estate planning. Shelina also has extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with a wide range of property matters.
The above is accurate as at 27 March 2020. The information above may be subject to change.
The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.