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Kalpa Prajapati, Head of Private Client

Since the Prime Minister announced the start of a period of ‘lockdown’ on 23 March 2020 and put in place measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, we have found ourselves in very strange times. As a company, we locked down a bit earlier and have been working from home since 16 March. For the majority of this time, we have been greeted by glorious sunshine although last weekend certainly didn’t fit in with that. We are now seeing the country take the first steps towards a return to normality – or as close to this as we can achieve for now.

Our Private Client department has been very busy of late. The pandemic has led to many people looking to get their affairs in order and we have had a number of new and existing clients make Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Inevitably, it has also meant that the number of instructions received to apply for Grants of Probate and assist with the Administration of Estates has almost doubled compared to the same time last year.

As a department, we have adapted well to the changes. We communicate on a daily basis and can be contacted by video link via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or WhatsApp, which is end-to-end encrypted, ensuring security for our Clients. We have the flexibility to “meet virtually” outside of our usual office hours. In fact, the full process of drawing up a Will can be completed remotely. As a way of showing gratitude to the remarkable work that the NHS have done (and continue to do) during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also offering a 20% discount on our usual cost for Wills for instructions received by 1 July from NHS staff.

There has never been a more important time to ensure that you have a Will in place. An individual’s circumstances can often be complicated by multiple marriages, divorces and step children, and the number of unmarried couples is on the rise. Without a Will, other members of these modern family structures may not be properly provided for. A Will is still the best way to ensure that your assets including your money, property and personal possessions are dealt with as you would wish, and to minimise the scope for family disputes.

Personally, I have kept myself busy via a range of activities on top of my usual day-to-day work including an appearance on Maritime Radio on 7 May which was a great experience. I have also been working closely with our new chosen charity of the year, BLG Mind, whose work in the mental health sphere is even more vital at a time like this. We have been working hard to set up a virtual yoga class which will take place on 1 July 2020, and this week I will be conducting a presentation and answering questions with Age Exchange via Facebook Live. This will be my first Facebook Live experience so please wish me luck!

Spending more time at home has given me time to cook more than usual and I have started to bake. So far, I have made a blueberry cake, chocolate chip cookies and numerous fruit crumbles. Working our way through the baked goodies has prompted my husband and I to sign up to some online fitness classes and we have realised just how unfit we are! We try to do a short class every day which helps us keep a routine and build up our fitness levels, as well as maintaining our mental health.

As Partners, we have been discussing measures safely to return to the office in line with Government guidelines and we very much looking forward to getting back to normal – or the ‘new normal’ – as quickly as we possibly (and safely) can.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to email me or contact me without obligation on 020 8305 3536 to ask me any questions, especially if you or a member of your family may wish to instruct us.