Want to update your Will but concerned about social distancing? See below for our Low to Zero contact options.
In recent weeks we have seen a significant uplift in clients updating their Wills & Enduring Powers of Attorney, and new clients getting an Estate Plan for the first time, but WHY?
There are two very good reasons for this. Firstly, it is a small way to take control during a time of crisis, with so many environmental and economic factors dictated.
Secondly, events such as we are currently experiencing do divert our attention to our own mortality. Most people are concerned that they do not leave their loved ones a significant ‘mess’ to clean up, whether it be on their death or incapacity. If you do not have a valid Enduring Power of Attorney and subsequently lose capacity, no one has the authority to make financial and health decisions on your behalf. Likewise if you do not have a valid Will your property may be left in accordance with a statutory formula rather than to those you wish to benefit. In both cases the lack or inadequacy of such documents will considerably add to the costs of administering your affairs.
There are many examples of unfair and unintended outcomes where this type of planning has not been undertaken regularly and involve former partners receiving entitlements or having the power to do things which the deceased/ incapacitated person would never have wished, property being disposed of before death, defeating the intention for that property to pass to a particular person and excessive legal and court or Tribunal costs being incurred unnecessarily .
If this resonates with you, we encourage you to update your existing Will, or if you have never taken the opportunity to create one, now is the time for action. If you would like advice or to understand more, call Jon McCarthy, Bruce Durie or ask to speak to a member of the Estate Planning team on 07 3370 5100.
For more details you can download our brochures
Low to Zero Contact Will Preparation – What you need to know
So you want to update your Will and / or Enduring Power of Attorney but are concerned about leaving your home during this time of social distancing? That is ok – we have options to suit you and your personal situation.
I would still like to meet in person
If you would still like a traditional face to face consultation to prepare your Will, we have meeting rooms that are compliant with social distancing rules available. You will need to advise if any friend or family members will be joining you for the appointment, to ensure that the appropriate size room is booked.
I am considered at risk / I don’t feel comfortable leaving my home
MDL have the option of video and telephone consultations available for your convenience. In the last six weeks, we have seen an increase in the number of requests for remote Estate Planning discussions, and have found our clients are pleased with how easy and stress-free the process was.
How do I get my Will witnessed?
There are a few options when it comes to witnessing your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney which we can deploy, with consideration given to the urgency or risk, case by case. In most instances, we find what works best is when we provide documents via post or email with detailed instructions on how to sign. As long as you have access to two adult witnesses who are not beneficiaries under your Will this can be done remotely.
For both a Will or Enduring Power of Attorney, you should email a copy immediately so we can ensure the document is correctly executed, then send the original either by post or hand delivery to any MDL office.
If you are on complete lock down and unable to source witnesses for your Wills, there is the option to sign your Will ‘informally’ without any witnesses. Whilst this will not be a valid Will, should the worst happen, it is possible to prove this as an informal Will in Court after death if required, so that your estate may be distributed pursuant to the terms of this informal Will, as if it were a valid Will.
How do I get my Enduring Power of Attorney witnessed?
When it comes to Enduring Power of Attorney, if you have access to another solicitor, Justice of the Peace (JP), Commissioner for Declarations or Notary Public to witness your signature / execution, this can also be completed remotely.When it comes to Enduring Power of Attorney, if you have access to another solicitor, Justice of the Peace (JP), Commissioner for Declarations or Notary Public to witness your signature / execution, this can also be completed remotely.
Unfortunately, there is no equivalent of an informal signing for an Enduring Power of Attorney at the moment under the current legislation.
In very limited circumstances, where there is urgency for high risk clients we can provide personalised advice over the phone on signing and how we can best proceed.
For more information contact our Estate Planning team on 07 3370 5100