What Will 2021 bring?!
At the start of every new year at Ridley & Hall, we take the opportunity to advise you of the importance of getting your personal affairs in order, and publish an article that talks about your New Year’s Resolutions linked loosely to the importance of making Wills and Powers of Attorney. Who would have known at the start of 2020, when we recommended making sure your Will is up to date and having valid Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, that some 12 months on we would be in the midst of a global health pandemic, lockdown was becoming second nature and the phrase “social distancing” was one of the most used terms of the year.
Sadly, in our department, we have already seen too many death certificates citing “COVID 19” as the cause of death, and it certainly looks as though that may be the case for some months to come, until the mass vaccination programme is well underway. That said, it certainly keeps the importance of being respectful of the rules and following the restrictions in the forefront of our minds.
We are fortunate that we are considered key workers for the purpose of doing our job to ensure that Wills can still be completed in COVID-safe ways during these testing times. Moreover, the laws that govern the execution of Wills that have been in place since 1837 have been extended and adapted to allow for the documents to be temporarily witnessed by video-link where necessary to enable people who are shielding, self-isolating or otherwise unable to complete their Wills in the traditional manner to validly execute their Wills alone, but where the witnesses are present remotely.
At Ridley & Hall, we have taken advantage of the modern methods of communication available to be able to take instructions and complete Wills to the same high standards as if our clients were attending at the office and we shall continue to do so, whilst face-to-face appointments at our three sites remain difficult.
This year, more than any other in our lifetimes, we cannot impress upon you the importance of making sure you have a valid Will in place, or checking that your existing Will is up to date. We have also spoken to more people than ever before about the value that Lasting Powers of Attorney can offer, particularly when footage of people being incapacitated on ventilators, and confined to hospital beds and in isolation wards is a familiar sight. So whilst usually we would be joking about your New Year’s diets already being abandoned after just a couple of days, this year, we really do urge you to start this year with a review of your personal affairs and contact us with any questions or queries you may have, because as 2020 has shown us, we really do not know what the future holds and we should not take time for granted.