8th July 2020

Wills & Powers of Attorney – No internet, no email, no problem

At Blackadders we have already explained how our clients can make a Will or a Power of Attorney if they can’t meet us in person. During the lockdown we have been fortunate to have guidance from the Law Society of Scotland as to how we can progress legal matters remotely and we have technology which allows us to do this. But, what about those individuals who do not have access to the technology that makes all of this possible?

There are still many people who do not know how to use technologies that makes connecting with people today so much easier. A lot of these individuals have family and friends who are able to help them out and set up the technology for them, I have even spoken with a client who was in hospital and managed to speak with me on a video call because the nurses had set it up. Nevertheless, there remains a small proportion of people who are very much cut-off from these methods of communication that have become so important in the last few months. They may not have family nearby or friends to help, this can be isolating for some

I hope this article might encourage someone to think about a relative, friend or neighbour who is in that situation. The fact is that we still continue to see a number of clients reach out to us for legal support because they are worried about COVID-19 and its potentially devastating effects. They want to make sure they have a Will in place that details their wishes and they want to make sure they have appointed someone that they trust, as an attorney to act on their behalf in the event that they lose capacity to manage their own affairs.

Although putting Wills and Powers of Attorney in place are things that are often pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do list’, the current pandemic has, for many, made these a priority. The unfortunate truth is that those who are in the group of being technologically isolated are often invisible and as a result may not be well supported in times like this.

So how do we at Blackadders support our clients in times like this? For the most part it’s very simple. We are able to accept instructions over the telephone and we can send documents by mail for approval where people do not have access to email.

Signing Wills and Powers of Attorney can be more challenging but we are focused on providing the support to create a client centred solution. Where it is not possible to arrange a videocall we can visit the client at home. The general idea is that the client should remain in their own home or otherwise socially distanced, which allows us to safely witness the deed being signed. Inevitably, these visits do not always go to plan…

I have arrived at a client’s address only to find her waiting on her first-floor balcony; I’ve had clients create makeshift meeting spaces in their gardens and I’ve even had to battle a greedy Labrador who could not understand why the lady in the house was not coming out to give him his usual treats.

To think that these important documents would be signed in gardens, through windows and on communal staircases would have been unimaginable 6 months ago. The important thing though is that in every case we manage to have the documents signed. We are able to create solutions for our clients and help to put their minds at ease by getting these all-important Wills and Powers of Attorney in place, regardless of their access to technology.

Ross Wallace,

Private Client
Blackadders LLP





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