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Category: Private Client


Published: 15 May 2020

Adapting to overcome the impact of COVID – 19

As a team our private client solicitors have learnt to quickly  adapt and develop our communication skills with our clients in order to help support and meet our clients’ needs in these difficult times.  We are able to  to adjust our services to work in a way most suited to our clients, to continue to deal with urgent and important matters for clients at short notice,  and we  are happy to discuss with individual clients the most appropriate means of communication that meet their particular circumstances.  We appreciate that at these times in particular  people’s thoughts may naturally turn to the need for Will making or granting Powers of Attorney.

In accordance with Law Society rules,  we are able to conduct face-to-face appointments with our clients via a video calling. Wills are described as necessary work,  and we continue to take Will instructions and complete Wills as a matter of high importance and can make arrangement for you to sign your Will as a matter of urgency. Given social distancing requirements at this unprecedented times, we are still able come together with our clients  through the use of technology, and we shall be continuing to take client instructions for both Wills and Powers of Attorney.

Wills

Using technology  to witness the Signing of your  Will in Scotland.

A Scottish Will is required to signed by the testator at the bottom of each page. A requires to be present when the testator is signing and to sign the last page to confirm they have witnessed the Will being signed, and the testator wishes to be bound by their Will. 

With the social distancing rules in place and many people living alone, it is not always possible for an independent adult witness to be present when signing your Will. To overcome this  issue there have  been new rules put in place to allow you to instruct and complete your Will or Power of Attorney.

Using a Video link; faceTime, whats app video calling, skype and Zoom calls – the Law Society of Scotland have now issued temporary practical guidance providing that Scottish Wills can be witnessed by a solicitor using video technology.  For Scottish Wills, the solicitor should witness you signing on each page, or arrange for someone else on the video call to do so. You should then post the principal Will back to the solicitor who should sign it as witness as soon as it reaches them.

This give us the ability to witness you signing the Will via video link  and your solicitor will sign the Will once it reaches our office.  

We are also able to witness Wills with our clients if we remain 2 metres away observing social distancing.

Powers of Attorney

Using technology to Complete your Power of Attorney in Scotland

Scottish Powers of Attorney all contain a Certificate of Capacity which must be signed by one of the following:-

  • A practicing member of the Faculty of Advocates;
  • A practicing solicitor who is registered to practice law in Scotland; or
  • A UK registered and licensed medical practitioner.

Scottish Powers of Attorney must also be witnessed by an independent adult. The legislation that governs the signing of Powers of Attorney requires that the solicitor/doctor certifying capacity has interviewed the granter immediately before the granter signs the document.

  • The Law Society of Scotland have suggested the following Skype or Facetime video call procedure can be adopted to satisfy this legislative requirement if a face-to-face meeting is not possible. This can be carried out by the following steps:-
  • The solicitor should provide the granter with the Power of Attorney in advance, either by post or by email.
  • The granter of the Power of Attorney should not sign the document in advance of the interview as the solicitor is required to witness the signing of the document.
  • The interview will take place during the video conference in the usual manner of a face to face appointment.
  • If the solicitor is satisfied that the granter has capacity, then, at the solicitor’s request, the granter should sign the document and the witness should sign as appropriate. The granter should then show the solicitor the signed copy Power of Attorney document.
  • The granter should then return the principal signed document to the solicitor as soon as possible. Once received, the solicitor should incorporate the Certificate of Capacity into the document. It should be signed by the certifier on the same day as execution by the granter.

We continue to adapt our way of working to provide this service to our clients, we are happy to work in the manner that is most suitable to our clients. Should you wish to discuss your Will or/and Power of Attorney we happy to take instructions of the first instance via telephone.

 

 

 

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