Covid 19 Update 2020

Spring naturally makes us look forward.  More clients contact us so as to settle their affairs.  So property moves, lasting powers of attorney and will drafting in particular are in specific focus.  At the time of writing, the Corona Virus restrictions are in full force.  So our advice is tempered by the current restrictions and includes the popular queries received from our clients.  As in all matters communication is key.

Can I still put a will or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs)in place with a solicitor during social distancing?

Yes you can. However the current restrictions will not be in place forever.  So any wills and LPAs must reflect your long term needs. We are still open and are working within government guidelines.  For example face to face meetings are replaced by video calls. Verifying your ID and address is still paramount.  So more extensive checks will be required by us, to protect you.  Of course we will guide you throughout the process and specifically on how your will can be validly signed.

I have a mortgage offer which is due to run out during the current restrictions.

Most lenders have agreed to extend existing mortgage offers for a period up to three months. Call your provider to confirm and update their records.

Can I still move house?

The property market is particularly sensitive at the moment. However there will always be reasons you need to move, both in the buying and rental markets. Nothing in the current restrictions override property law. So if for example you have exchanged contracts you are obliged to move, unless all parties agree to amend the contract and moving dates.

If you are fortunate to move to an empty property nothing much needs to change and your only issue should be the physical practicalities of moving.

Can properties still be sold at auctions?

Auctioneers in particular are geared up anyway to sell properties online.  As purchasers often aren’t local and may even be abroad. This will involve virtual tours of the property and organised online bidding.

Are courts still open?

Only 75 English courts are completely closed. 159 are open to the public and a further 117 courts are staffed but not accessible to the public. The majority of the accessible courts are magistrates and Crown Courts. Uxbridge Combine Court centre is fully functioning along with Isleworth Crown Court, Ealing Magistrates court.  Family and probate courts in West London and central London respectively, are available but busy.

All the above responses have been simplified and shortened for expediency.  If you have any comments or queries, contact Austins Solicitors.  As an accredited firm we can advise you in detail to your specific situation.