Ordinary Measures In Extraordinary Times
The unexpected has arrived at the doorstep of everyone in the country and across the world in the form of the coronavirus crisis. It is during such times which force us out of our comfort zone that we seek reassurance for ourselves, families and loved ones to ease the uncertainty Hillyer McKeown (HM) is responding to the needs of clients and communities swiftly and decisively by implementing alternative measures for extra support during this extraordinary time.
Introducing ‘Garden Wills’
One fundamental question in the current situation has been: how do I sign original documents given the requirement for physical distancing?
Our answer to address the current need for ‘wet’ signatures is to look at alternatives to face-to-face meetings by implementing what we call ‘Garden Wills’. This is where our advisors process the documentation following the usual legal parameters, outside or through windows, while maintaining the required safe physical distance to keep both clients and colleagues safe and well. We are also processing signed documents by post where clients have neighbours willing to witness signatures at a safe distance.
Assessing capacity and influence
Another question is: how can we ensure we adhere to clients instructions clients while following the right legal process?
Our team is particularly careful to confirm that the client is alone and that the instructions being given are theirs alone. We maintain the highest client standard of client care in all situations
We moved swiftly to offer phone appointments instead of seeing clients face to face. This raised the query about ensuring clients have the capacity for making legal documents such as Powers of Attorney and Wills. Our experienced advisors are very careful in making their assessment, asking stringent questions to ensure that lack of capacity is not an issue.
An additional factor is checking that people are not under the undue influence of another when making or updating a Will. Again, our team is particularly careful to confirm that the client is alone when the call is made and that the instructions being given are theirs alone.
We have also implemented photographic identification as a means to overcome the requirements for ID, while maintaining the correct procedures.
Providing reassurance with a ‘Virtual Coffee’
Perhaps the single most important factor since the onset of coronavirus has been to provide reassurance amid such uncertainty through every day, ordinary habits. We are offering a free initial review or ‘Virtual Coffee’, to talk through peoples’ requirements or concerns. Where possible, we can then offer a suite of services which best suit their needs.
Partner, Head of Private Client Services, and STEP Member