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Interview - How you can help your ageing relatives
- AuthorJade Soady-Jones
Jade is a solicitor at Fishers who works in the Wills and Probate department. In this short interview Jade talks about the possibility of making a Will at home, the importance of Lasting Powers of Attorneys and how you can help your ageing relatives.
How long have you been at Fishers?
Around 3 years.
How can people use our services during the pandemic?
The short answer is – however is most convenient for you. We are all adapting to the new ‘normal’ during the Coronavirus outbreak and are doing our best to work from home where possible. This means that we now regularly conduct appointments over the telephone or via video call, as opposed to face to face appointments. You can call or email us and we will still be here to help you, just as we were before the pandemic. Our friendly receptionist Lynne is still available to take your calls and will direct you to the best person to help. If you are uncomfortable with having telephone or video appointments, we can facilitate face to face meetings where possible, but only in certain circumstances and where it is possible to follow Government guidelines and maintain a safe social distance.
Can you get a Will without leaving your house?
Absolutely. Rather than having face to face appointments, we are having telephone or video call appointments where possible. Wills can be sent in the post to your home address with clear instructions as to the signing procedure. If you are uncomfortable with this and would prefer a face to face meeting, then we are doing all we can to accommodate this but only where we can comply with Government guidelines i.e you can remain in your home while myself and a colleague attend your property and talk to you from a safe social distance while standing outside or through your open window. If you are unable to get two people to witness your signature to your will, Fishers can act as your witnesses while following Government guidelines and maintaining a safe social distance. If you have any queries about this, please give me a call and I would be happy to discuss this with you if you need guidance or reassurance about the new process.
What should people do now to plan for later life?
I’m a big advocate of Lasting Powers of Attorney and I think making them is a good way to plan for later life. Lasting Powers of Attorney are extremely useful documents to have and ensure that your chosen individual or individuals (your attorney or attorneys) can help you in the way that you would want them to. One common misconception is that Lasting Powers of Attorney are only useful once you have lost your mental capacity. While it is true that a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used when you have lost capacity, a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney can be used as soon as it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. This means that if, for example, you have an injury or are in hospital for an operation and are physically unable to deal with your own financial affairs (even though you still have mental capacity), your chosen attorney or attorneys could do so on your behalf e.g paying your bills or managing your bank account while you are unable to do so.
How can people help their ageing relatives?
I think the most simple but effective way to help an ageing relative is to talk to them. In my experience, I’ve found that a lot of people shy away from difficult conversations and I suppose it is quite understandable that many people don’t like to approach the subject of getting older. Talking about these things with your loved one in a sensitive way is an extremely useful first step. Even if your relative is adamant that they do not wish to make any legal documents at this stage, as a result of your conversation you may have a better understanding of their thoughts and wishes. Talking with your relative about their options such as making a Will or Lasting Powers of Attorney might prompt them to get their affairs in order but it is important that they do so at their own pace and that any decision they make is their own.
If there is anything that your relative is unsure about, they can call Fishers (or you can call on their behalf in the first instance) and either myself or a colleague in the Wills and Probate Department would be more than happy to discuss any queries or concerns they may have. We can deal with things at their pace and will provide guidance and assistance at every stage.
If your relative has lost mental capacity, there is assistance that we can provide to help you help them. Whether it’s registering an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that you are able to act on behalf of your relative or applying for a Deputyship Order (if your relative does not have an Enduring or Lasting Power of Attorney in place). Again, please do call us and we will talk through this with you. Our approach will be tailored to your relative’s individual circumstances.