Will My Legal Advisor Still Be In The Office During COVID-19?
Posted on 30th March 2020
The biggest worldwide disruption since the Second World War is now a fact of life for us all and adapting to the disruption is a challenge, we all face in different ways. MG Legal, your Wills and Probate Solicitors, as a local firm focus on local clients and their needs and so, we appreciate the impact this has on everyone.
For businesses, the challenge lies in ensuring there is sufficient cash in the bank to get back into their stride as soon as possible once restrictions are lifted, for individuals, it is about making sure they don’t contract the virus and minimising the risks of doing so, whilst ensuring they have food in the fridge and money in the bank to pay their bills.
Business outgoings and help
Businesses rely on cash-flow, so the news that the government is making help available to smaller and medium sized businesses in the form of backed loans to businesses with the government paying fees and interest for up to 12 months. The idea of this is to prevent the need to make staff redundant, which often costs more in the short term and only presents a recruitment problem later down the line, to ensure the business can pick up where it left off in March 2020.
The government has also promised to provide a grant to self-employed individuals of 80% of their income based on average profits over the past 3 years, capped at £2,500.00. This is, again, aimed at ensuring these people are not placed in a completely irretrievable position later in the year when the world finally starts to move again.
Working from home
Many people are, in this age of technology, able to work from home, something that would have presented a serious problem for all but the most advanced businesses 10-15 years ago. Ironically, go back 20 years and solicitors would have been fine as it was only at the turn of the millennium that files were made electronic and so, many solicitors would simply have transported their files home and continued to work as normal. This avoids the need for commuting and coming face-to-face with people to minimise the chances of infection spreading.
MG Legal, your Wills and Probate solicitors, would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the workers who must still go to work, including NHS staff, carers, Post-Office and delivery staff, supermarket staff and cleaning staff.
Indeed, on 23rd March, the Ministry of Justice provided further clarification of those legal practitioners covered within this category, focusing on the continued operation of the courts and tribunals. The categories comprise:
Advocates (including solicitor advocates) required to appear before a court or tribunal (remotely or in person), including prosecutors;
Other legal practitioners required to support the administration of justice including duty solicitors (police station and court) and barristers, solicitors, legal executives, paralegals and others who work on imminent or ongoing court or tribunal hearings;
Solicitors acting in connection with the execution of wills; and
Solicitors and barristers advising people living in institutions or deprived of their liberty.
Only legal practitioners who work on the types of matters, cases and hearings on this list will be classified as a key worker.
Succession and Continuation
For everyone in this situation, whether business owner, employee, retiree or simply people who are stuck at home, there is a very real prospect that you will be required to self-isolate at some point and it is not, unfortunately, beyond the realms of possibility, that you might be ill enough to require hospitalisation.
Not necessarily the most pleasant thought, however, you can be more prepared for this situation with a Power of Attorney to enable a trusted family member or close friend to manage your affairs. As any infected people cannot come into contact with others, having this in place in advance will mean that any period of self-isolation or hospitalisation does at least leave you free of worry about managing any affairs such as finances, looking after children, disabled family members or elderly relatives. It will also allow those closest to you to carry out your instructions without the issue of butting heads with banks, service providers and other bureaucratic entities, minimising the strain on them too. MG Legal, your Wills and Probate solicitors, offer a swift, professional and affordable services, all whilst minimising contact during the Covd19 Social Distancing and Isolation requirements.
We are able to provide most services over the phone, email, skype, post and by attending your home, but remaining outside. Our earlier article regarding witnessing documents is also helpful here as it is now confirmed as acceptable for witnesses for formal documents such as Powers of Attorney to do so at a distance, including via video link.
Advice for solicitors
We can assure all of our clients and potential clients that MG Legal is constantly staying up to date with the advice to legal practitioners and that we have measures in place to ensure that, even if one member of staff, or even several, contract Covid19, all clients will continue to receive the best service and nothing will change regarding any future arrangements. We fully intend to be around for many years to come and after this unprecedented situation has finally passed, we will be back into the full swing of things without delay.
If you have any questions or if you wish to discuss Powers of Attorney, Deputyships or Wills with us, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can get in touch by phone, email or web-contact form and hopefully, in the not too distant future, by attending one of our offices in Lancaster, Garstang or Longridge. We offer fixed fees for all such matters and we will aim to complete and have your chosen document ready for engrossment as soon as humanly possible, we are all working remotely and so, your request can be dealt with as quickly as we would do in any other situation.
We would like to wish all our clients and anyone else reading this, all the best for the future and we hope to see you soon.
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors
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