Life can take unexpected turns as the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is reminding us. This challenging, unusual time has forced many of us to adapt our everyday routines, including work habits, to enable us to self isolate and contain the spread of the virus as much as possible.
It has also caused many people to stop, think, and appreciate that having a valid Will and professionally prepared estate planning documents in place is a must.
Indeed, the time to act is now and make necessary preparations.
We have received numerous enquiries about the preparation of the core three estate planning documents: Wills, Enduring Power of Attorneys and Advance Care Directives.
At Tindall Gask Bentley, our lawyers are working remotely the majority of the time and seeing clients only when absolutely necessary. There’s really no need to come into the office – our lawyers can speak with you via phone, Face Time, Skype etc and send any documents via fax and email.
In light of recent events, we encourage you to take this opportunity to ensure all of your estate planning documents are up to date. Check your elderly relatives have these documents in place and confirm the location of their original documents.
For example, if you are an attorney appointed by a relative or friend pursuant to an Enduring Power of Attorney, you should be ready to act if called upon. A reminder: Enduring Powers of Attorney appoint an attorney to act on your behalf in relation to legal and financial affairs. Advance Care Directives enable you to appoint a Substitute Decision-Maker to make decisions on your behalf in relation to medical and personal affairs in the event you are incapacitated.
As a Wills and Estates lawyer, the social distancing requirements present particular challenges. When you call us to make an appointment to have your Will prepared, in most instances a telephone or Face time appointment will be made to take your initial instructions. Whilst this part of the process ticks the social isolation boxes so to speak, in order to meet our professional obligations and abide by the applicable legislation, we will generally need to meet with you in person (under the appropriate conditions) to confirm your instructions, testamentary capacity, and to sign and witness your documents in accordance with legislation. Should a lockdown occur, we will be able to post your documents out to you with instructions for signing and put in place further measures to follow up the execution of the documents.
Having a valid Will is one of the kindest, considerate things you can do for your family. While the consequences of not having one are many.
Do you have a clear plan in place if you or your partner dies unexpectedly?
Who will look after and raise your child, as their legal guardian?
Do you know for sure that your partner and child will be taken care of financially after your death?
Will your assets be distributed to the people you want?
Not having a Will can also cause considerable expense and unnecessary delays in finalising your estate.
The only way you can be sure of avoiding this chaos is to have a valid Will.
There may also be good reason for you to update your Will, including:
- A change in relationship status, such as separation, divorce or re-marry/re-partner;
- If you have more children;
- If you establish or dispose of a trust, company or business;
- At least every three years
- Whenever you dispose of, or acquire significant assets;
- If you acquire significant debts or there is a likelihood you may become insolvent
- Any major beneficiary dies or has a significant change in circumstances;
- An executor dies or becomes ill.
In any event, don’t put it off any longer. Call us now to start the process, or start your will online by clicking here. Safeguard the future for you and your family.