Published: 24 March 2020
Author: Amanda Burns
Wills and Powers of Attorney during the COVID-19 emergency
The COVID-19 emergency is a challenge for us all, even in the legal profession, where already our Wills and Probate lawyers are experiencing a dramatic spike in calls from people who are worried about their personal and financial affairs.
As people are calling us in record numbers concerned about their Wills or financial and medical powers of attorney, we also need to consider our duty of care to our clients and the community and ensure we are observing social distancing restrictions and quarantine laws which prevent us from seeing our clients face to face.
Of paramount importance to us is the health, safety and peace of mind of our clients, while also taking precautions to safeguard our legal team during a time when our clients need urgent advice.
While there may be a temptation for people to write their own Will or use an online template or post-office version, we strongly recommend a properly drafted and witnessed Will. The expense to prove any other type of document in Court at a later date can be substantial and can cause significant stress and hardship for family members. Also, if a Will is not carefully worded, the provisions may be ineffective, and the Will makers intentions may not be carried out.
We always encourage clients to put a Will in place prior to illness, which may mean now.
The COVID-19 emergency highlights the importance of having a valid Will and Power of Attorney in place at all times.
Are you in need of urgent advice on Wills or Powers of Attorney?
At this time of crisis, our Wills and Estates team are implementing measures to support our clients and members of the community who are concerned about their Will, financial power of attorney or medical power of attorney. This includes substituting face to face appointments for telephone or video conferencing appointments wherever possible.
To obtain advice in relation to your Will or powers of attorney, contact us on 1800 641 743 for an initial discussion with a member of our Wills and Estates team. Your call will be confidential and free of charge. You will then be provided with direction in relation to a further telephone or video conference appointment, exchange of documents by email if appropriate and preparation and signing of documents.
Already, we have had people calling Stringer Clark concerned about their Wills and wanting to know how to ensure that their estate and financial matters are in order, just in case.
Others are asking about the legal powers they may have to exercise on behalf of a loved one who has fallen ill and doctors are wanting to know who has a medical power of attorney to act on behalf of their patient.
Callers are likewise worried about their financial affairs and who, in the event that they may fall ill, can manage their personal finances on their behalf. In these circumstances and others, Powers of Attorney will be required to give authority to the person entrusted to handle one’s affairs.
The Stringer Clark legal team is here to help where we can, bearing in mind that putting one’s affairs in order is one thing that we can manage remotely and efficiently at a time when support may most be needed.
Wills & Estates enquiry line: 1800 641 743.