COVID-19 & Private Client Law

March 23rd 2020

The impact of coronavirus on the economic landscape in the country and across the world has been unprecedented. As businesses and individuals prepare for extended periods of self-isolation and social distancing, many are now beginning to consider how this constantly evolving situation will impact on their lives in both the short and long term.

Our Private Client team have received a number of enquiries over the last few weeks as the true impact that the pandemic would have on their situation became apparent.

We have attempted to answer a few of the most common questions in this article, but would advise that you seek legal advice from one of our team if you are concerned about your own situation.

Is it possible to make a will when self-isolating?

Our Private Client team are following government advice on social distancing to protect our clients and staff. You can read our business continuity statement here.

We are aware that in such uncertain times it is essential that our clients receive the support that they need. While our team is working remotely we are able to conduct meetings to take instructions by telephone or video conference, and can arrange for drafts of documents to be delivered to you or sent by email to sign.

In response to the increasing number of enquiries regarding drafting or amending of Wills we are streamlining our processes to be able to respond to the needs of our clients and provide a prompt service.  

Should I update my existing will?

Over 50% of people in the UK do not have a Will, which means that they are most likely not protecting their assets for future generations as effectively as they could be. We would advise clients to update their Will every 5 years to reflect any changes in personal circumstances which may either change how they would like their estate to be administered or voided their will entirely.

Changes to circumstance may include, but not be limited to:

  • Any additional beneficiaries. You may need to ensure that any new children or grandchildren, or anyone else who you wish to make a gift to, is named in your Will. You may also wish to appoint guardians for any minor children.
  • Marriage or divorce. Your Will is rendered null and void on marriage which may mean that you are intestate If you are divorced you may need to update your will to reflect the change in circumstances.
  • The removal of someone named in your will. It is important to update your Will if you wish to amend any gifts due to a change of circumstance, particularly if somebody named in your Will has passed away.
  • The removal of an executor. Executors must be suitable and able to administer your estate, if that is no longer the case you may need to amend your current Will to reflect this.

How can I support my elderly relatives who are self isolating?

Several of our team are members of Solicitors for the Elderly, and provide extensive support for our clients in creating Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) or applying to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy.

There are two  types  of LPA: Property & Financial and Health & Welfare. A Property & Financial LPA  will allow you to manage the financial affairs of your family member including collecting benefits or pensions and paying bills on their behalf

How should I protect my assets in light of the current economic situation?

With the downturn in the economy and lower interest rates having significant impact on the investments – including pensions – of many of our clients, now is a time to consider how you can best protect your assets for future generations. You solicitor will be able to discuss your short and long term objectives and provide tailored advice to your specific goals.

Next steps

Spratt Endicott’s Private Client team are experienced in helping our clients achieve their personal goals. If you unsure of how your personal affairs are affected in light of the COVID-19 outbreak then we would advice you to speak to our a member of our team today.

Our Private Capital team is happy to review your existing will by e-mail and can advise you whether your existing arrangements are sufficient or need to be altered due to changes in circumstances.

 *Disclaimer: While everything has been done to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this article, it is a general guide only. It is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought in relation to the particular facts of a given situation.