The Coronavirus outbreak has now officially been classed as a ‘Pandemic’ and, if
the media is to be believed, is likely to spread rapidly around the UK, as it
has done in Italy and other countries. The main victims of the virus will be
the elderly, ill and those with weak immune systems.
We have a duty to act in the best interests of our clients and many of
the clients that we do see are elderly or unwell. This means that we are
dealing with one of the most vulnerable subsections of society during what could
be the worst outbreak since the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918, which killed at
least 17 million people.
We therefore must now deal with client matters more quickly and urgently than would
ordinarily be the case, as there is a very real risk of clients being infected
during the process of drawing up their Will. To make matters worse, if a client
does suspect infection and goes into self-isolation, it will be nearly impossible
to arrange for the Will to be signed. Naturally, this creates a very real
problem where Wills, LPAs, Trusts or other legal documents have not been
drafted promptly, and can subsequently not be signed, leading to clients
potentially passing away without executed legal documents.
There is a
further important issue for law firms. We have a duty to act in the best
interests of our clients and should be vigilant to stop the infection from
spreading. For this reason, it’s important not to shake hands with clients, as
this will also help to stop the virus from spreading to them.
If law firms are forced to shut down their offices, whether due to employee infection or
government guidance, then we will also need to put structures in place to
ensure that Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Trusts and other legal work can
still be undertaken properly. This means that measures need to be put in place
so that employees can work from home and are able to deal with client matters.
If you are worried about the Coronavirus or whether your Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney
or other legal affairs are in order, please do contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0345 222 00 22.