Estate planning and will making can still be undertaken despite lockdown, says Dales solicitor


Michael McGarry.

Michael McGarry, a partner of  McGarry & Co Solicitors, a registered trust and estate practitioner with the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and an accredited member of the Solicitors for the Elderly, explains that estate planning and will making can still be undertaken.

To say these are difficult times is a huge understatement. Unprecedented, unparalleled, exceptional, even extraordinary, do not seem to cover the enormity of the current and indeed long-term issues arising from the current coronavirus pandemic.

At these times our minds turn to our own mortality and tidying up our own affairs. Unfortunately, at times of a lockdown and when we are quite properly engaged in social distancing, making Wills and sorting out our private affairs can be difficult.

There are some circumstances in which, even with social distancing, an actual meeting cannot be avoided, but there are steps which can be taken to ensure that all parties are kept sufficiently distanced.  Most other discussions are being undertaken either on the telephone, by Facetime or Skype.  This does make life a little more difficult, but it is perfectly achievable with appropriate safeguards.

Therefore, if you are looking at putting your affairs in order, your mind having been focused by either the current dreadful situation, or simply by the fact that you have time to consider matters at the moment, then please contact your solicitor.

Wills and Estate Planning

Everything you have worked hard for and built up during your lifetime will pass in accordance with your Will when you pass away.  This makes a Will one of the most important documents that can be made, yet many people put off making a Will or decide not to make one at all.  Solicitors can help you on:

  • Regarding the types of Will available
  • Guardianship for your children
  • Executors
  • Planning for your business and farms
  • Provision for any disabled beneficiaries
  • Care home fee planning
  • Potential challenges to your Will
  • Inheritance Tax planning and rules

It’s important because if you do not have a Will the law makes no provision for:

  • Common law “partners/spouses” (there is no such thing in law)
  • Stepchildren
  • Guardians
  • Tax planning

Even in the case of married couples, your spouse does not necessarily inherit everything.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

In the event that you become mentally incapable of making decisions relating to your finances or health and welfare, or indeed in old age the burden of managing your affairs becomes too great, then a Lasting Power of Attorney can really help.  Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)’s are legal documents which by law allow you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf.  These people are called attorneys.

It is important that Lasting Powers of Attorney are completed correctly, ensuring that the attorneys have all the powers they need, but making sure that they do not have more power than you want them to have.

Solicitors can advise you regarding the types of Powers of Attorney and what you need to consider, dealing with:

  • The registration of Powers of Attorney documents
  • Advice specifically on Powers of Attorney for those with special circumstances such as business owners and children

Solicitors can also advise attorneys as to the roles and obligations and indeed help in dealing with management of affairs of people who are unable to look after their own affairs.

Whilst we are looking at things differently in these difficult times we can help, even at a distance.  Sometimes it might be just a phone call putting your mind at rest that what you have in place is sufficient, or making a Will or changing your current arrangements, although possibly at the moment at a distance. We offer a friendly, professional and caring service ensuring that our clients’ wishes are carried out and to help you in a way which suits you best.

In the meantime, all at McGarry & Co. wish you well at this difficult time and hope that you all keep safe.

Established in 2010, McGarry and Co have grown into one of the region’s most successful legal practices with offices in Barnard Castle, Hawes, Sedbergh and Leyburn.

Interested applicants should visit for further details.