Life has changed dramatically for us all since March 2020. We had hoped that we would be getting “back to normal” sometime soon – would any of us have thought we would still be living under restrictions more than 8 months later?!
Many of us have put things off, vowing that we will do this “when we get back to normal”.
For now the new “normal”, for a large proportion of us, means:
- working from home
- adapting to new ways of working
- flexible working
- changing guidance
For anyone thinking that they need to get their affairs in order and wondering how this can be done while restrictions are in place - we have adapted our working practices and found new (and sometimes interesting!) ways of getting things done. Our team are working remotely and able to provide the same help and support we would usually provide.
Despite the current pandemic and restrictions we continuing to take client instructions, prepare important lifetime planning documents – wills, powers of attorney, advanced medical directives (living wills), trusts, winding up estates and dealing with property transactions.
Client meetings, where restrictions allow, can be face to face. However, the majority of client meetings are currently by phone or video conferencing. Our team will work with you to identify the best method of contact to suit your needs.
Legislation has been introduced to allow the witnessing of particular documents to be carried out by video conferencing. Therefore if someone is self-isolating, or shielding, and paperwork requires to be signed, this can still be done.
The Courts have also adapted their way of dealing with guardianship applications and renewals. The majority of Courts in Scotland are now dealing with hearings by means of additional written documentation or teleconferencing facilities.
For administering a deceased person’s estate, again, the Courts have now returned to business and are working hard at processing the backlog of Confirmation (referred to as Probate in England) applications.
The Public Guardian’s Office in Scotland (who are responsible for the registration of Powers of Attorney and Guardianship orders in Scotland) continue to be in a position to provide an ongoing service. They have seen an increase in the number of powers of attorney being registered during the pandemic and are working hard to process the backlog in registering documents.
Property transactions are continuing as well and there has been a buoyant market during the pandemic. Our conveyancing team are able to assist in all types of conveyancing transactions, with Registers of Scotland accepting electronic registration of documents.
Should you have any queries about getting your affairs in order please do not hesitate to contact us – a member of our Private Client Team will be happy to assist.