To our clients (existing and former), friends and contacts.
I hope you and your families are all keeping as well as is possible during this difficult time.
Reviewing your Wills & Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney
In these unprecedented times, we have often been removed from the usual easy routines and creature comforts. Many people have suffered terribly with illness, as well as future health concerns and those others who have suffered economic and financial instability and loss. I do not know about you but I am much more aware of the frailty of our existence and that we are learning to treat each day as it comes with grateful thanks for all those people that keep us healthy and together.
At Robert Cartmell Consulting, we have noted the large quantity of enquiries from people new to us or previous clients wishing to review or update their Wills and particularly those wishing to put trust protection and to set up Lasting Powers of Attorney. Some of those people have expressed the worry also that due to the lockdown(s) that they may not be able to have meetings in person or be able to execute valid documents during this time.
Meetings in Person
To help give good estate planning advice as well as to discuss trust or estate administration, it has always been viewed by me essential to meet in person – and of course enjoyable!
Therefore it is right that we continue to offer to visit our clients at their home where they wish or need us to do so. Maximum care is taken as to maintaining social distancing, sanitisation and ensuring that our clients and others are fully safe. I know that our clients appreciate us being able to come to see them at home and we will continue to do so for as long as we are permitted.
Many of the problems of the lack of face-to-face meetings have been overcome by growth in the general use of video call technology. Although nothing beats meeting in person, I must say that am finding that this is a particularly useful way of helping people to review their matters and in particular their Wills & trusts.
The primary benefits of video-calls for Wills and Estates include:
- being able to ‘meet’ the family – in recent months I have had video-call meetings with not only the parents on the video call but also their adult children who otherwise would not have been able to attend. This has been particularly useful when discussing overall estate planning and trust protections for retired couples. Their children can listen in to the discussions and have involvement and understand the benefit of trust protection. Likewise for Estate Administration, I can meet members of the family who are not local to me on the video call and I have even done ‘Will-reading’ meetings by Zoom or MS Teams.
- sharing my computer screen when taking details from my clients: using the video-call functions I can share my notes on screen with my clients. They can watch as I note down details they provide. That helps ensure I take information and details correctly as they can follow me as it is inputted. My clients can also see the scope of the questions asked and the reasons for it.
- running through draft Wills and documents – I can take my clients through their draft documents by sharing my screen and they can follow me from the comfort of their living room sofa with a glass (or two) of wine to hand whilst I explain the ins and outs of a will-trust.
- during the coronavirus lockdown, Wills execution processes can be conducted by recorded video-call meetings. There is a defined process for this but it could avoid the need for face to face meetings during this period.
- recording the meetings: Zoom in particular is excellent for being able to record my meetings. This facility provides an audio and a video file and they can be stored to my file and the audio is usually able to be emailed to my clients. This means that the advice I give can be recorded and replayed – it can help families in their estate planning.
Whether in person or by video-call, we are still taking urgent bookings for meetings in December but most meetings are now being booked for January/February.
I am looking forward to seeing you all again sometime soon.
In the meantime, my very best wishes for a happy and healthy Christmas and the coming Year.