Wills during COVID-19

Signing the Will at aged care centre during COVID-19

Most people find the process of writing a Will a difficult one. It’s a time when you have to think about those things you’d rather not; what’s going to happen after you pass away, where will all your belongings go, who will look after your family, how will they cope? It’s a stressful time. Now, imagine writing a Will in the midst of a pandemic such as COVID-19.

With lockdowns, social distancing, and mandatory separations, people are even more concerned about their safety, their livelihood and their family. Many older people are concerned they may get sick. If the worst were to happen, with no Will in place, they are even more scared as they have no way to protect their family legally.Worried about Will

Unfortunately, people who are at risk, such as the elderly, Are the ones who are the most difficult to have contact with due to self-isolation or aged care homes’ restrictions.

We are trying to make sure that amid this pandemic we can offer some form of relief by helping people to finalise their Wills. It’s not much, but it does relieve stress and lift a weight off people who are concerned they may be at risk of getting sick.

One of our solicitors, Tamsyn Borton, recently attended an Aged Care facility in the Northern suburbs of Brisbane to help one of our elderly client’s finalise her Will. The day she attended to take her instructions was the last day before the lockdown, and she describes her experience on how she visited her client during the lockdown:

“I sanitised and had my temperature taken before I sat with her for an hour, taking her instructions, and then left. After then the facility was put on lockdown – only staff were allowed to enter and leave. Cornerstone Law Offices has been liaising with the Queensland Law Society to see how we can adapt in this pandemic and arrange signing of Wills without making physical contact with the clients. We offered the Aged Care facility options such as:

1. Having staff witness the client’s signature;
2. Having the staff hold a video link up to me, as the solicitor, so I could view and record the client signing the document; or
3. Arranging for me to be allowed back in to witness the Will as she signed it.

Aged Care worker helpingThe Will was drafted within a week. Within two weeks, I reattended the Aged Care Facility, with my client’s friend to act as her second witness, so we could get her Will signed.

The Aged Care facility was very accommodating, having a staff member bring my client out, set her up on one side of the room, and then walk the documents between the client, myself and the other witness.

We were able to have a Will drafted, signed and witnessed for a client who was nervous about the pandemic situation and therefore wanted to get her Will done. It is one less thing she now has to worry about”.

If you want to have your Will drafted but are unsure about how the process will take place, give us a call. We are doing initial consultations via telephone and video link and trying to ensure all our clients are represented well and kept safe. We are here to help.

 

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