Cheers for Reading: Going above and beyond
By Sarah Cheers, Paralegal, Wills, Trusts & Estates Team
Hi, I am Sarah Cheers. I joined Cullimore Dutton earlier this year, and I’m sharing this series of brief insights into my time as a paralegal.
In this post, I’ll share a few examples were our team have adapted to the challenges of lockdown and gone above and beyond to ensure our clients’ needs were met.
Working during the pandemic has been somewhat strange and presented a number of challenges. Solicitors are classed as key workers and we have continued to provide all of our services to clients old and new; however, we have had to do things a little differently in recent months.
Locking it down in lockdown!
As legal professionals we are often appointed as Executors in client’s Wills, this will potentially be in cases where a client has little or no close family to call on. In these instances, should the client pass away it is our responsibility to secure their property, remove, log and store any items of value such as jewellery, cash, etc. We then secure the property and check on it regularly.
During lockdown, we have had to conduct a number of these deceased’s property visits. These are always done in teams and throughout the pandemic we have conducted such visits in full PPE, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our colleagues.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way to get it signed!
Wills and Will signings have made the headlines throughout the pandemic, with a nationwide surge in Will instructions throughout lockdown. The social distancing measures even resulted in a change to the 183-year-old Wills Act (progress!).
Our team also had to be creative in arranging the signing and witnessing of Wills in a COVID secure manner; From the creation of our own dedicated COVID-secure room on-site, to the signing of Wills on a neighbour’s wall, on a (disinfected) wheelie bin, on a car bonnet and in many clients’ back gardens – thankfully the weather was generally kind over the summer.
Room with a view
During lockdown care homes rightly restricted access to ensure the wellbeing of their residents, however we had a number of care home-based clients who wanted support with Wills and LPAs.
One of our team took an LPA instruction from a care home resident. The gentleman in question was in his 90s, hard of hearing and telephone communication was difficult. With support from a member of care home staff, instructions were taken over the phone, we prepared and sent the documents to the client in readiness for a face to face meeting.
We arranged with the nursing home for a private room with an accessible adjacent area of the grounds to be reserved. One of our solicitors then visited the nursing home and stood outside (in the rain), a short distance from an open window and in PPE, with the client and staff member in the room.
The member of care home staff then assisted our client by turning the pages of the document as our colleague guided him through the details. The client was comfortable speaking freely in the presence of the member of nursing staff, this previously having been agreed.
As you can see from these few examples, our team have been, and remain keen to ensure that we continue to provide the help, support and advice our clients need, no matter what issues the global pandemic throws at us.
Until next time…
Get in touch with Cullimore Dutton Solicitors on 01244 356 789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.