CONTINUITY OF SERVICE FOR THOSE ISOLATED
At Ferndown Solicitors we place the utmost importance on the protection of the client when putting together documents such as Wills and Powers of Attorney. It is for this reason that we do not facilitate online wills and only offer a face to face service for the protection of the client from abuse or later challenge to the wishes you have put in place. However, we understand that this is an exceptional time and have looked to respond and adapt accordingly.
We have been in talks with both the SRA and Law Society on how best to deliver these services while maintaining the level security they expect from our profession and that you deserve as our client. The SRA rightly insist that we know our clients and as such, if not already known to us or a member of the team we need to have seen you during the instruction process to check you against your ID. Based on the volume of calls being received we understand the worry people feel and the pressing need for clients, particularly those in high risk groups to feel peace of mind regarding their affairs and for some the setup of provision or change to planning already in place. We confirm, that after consultation we are implementing the following option for those high risk clients or those self isolating:
1. Video conferencing – We are setup for clients to discuss their wishes by video. This will enable us to comply with the SRA requirement to see you and to avoid any fraudulent documents being put in place for those at risk. This means that at some point during the process, prior to the release of documents for signature we will need to see you and match you to the ID given. For those who find identity documents hard to find then discuss this with us and we will see how this can be addressed by online checks.
2. We will prepare documents and send them to you with signing instructions (again we understand there are those for whom this may continue to be an issue and are in talks to work out alternative measures which do not compromise the safety of the client or our staff and families). We hope that groups attending those clients who normally as a policy will not witness will may be able to consider doing so at this unprecedented time.
3. The work for clients who are at high risk will be priority and their wills and documents will be prepared first and all other client work will remain in the queue and be worked through in order.
4. For clients who suffer the loss of a loved one at this terrible time we will similarly be happy to facilitate you by conferencing and will call you back to help guide you through the process.
To our other clients we thank you for your patience at this time while we respond to urgent cases first. We will get to you as soon as possible and are taking steps to ensure that continuity of service remains in place.
We will remain in consultation with our regulatory bodies with regard to best practice regarding the issue of identification and witnessing particularly as we understand that measures such as these will still make it very hard for some clients to comply owing to the technology involved and/or not having visitors who can witness their documents. We will keep you updated. Even in this digital age regrettably some documents still require wet ink signatures, most notably wills.
Don’t forget, please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns by email or phone. In some cases a quick contact may be able to provide you with an answer which will relieve any immediate worry you feel. You may not need to take any action and can wait without any major consequence to your planning.
Stay safe, take care and lets all look out for each other.
Kate and the team.