Monday: Settled In
I’m beginning to become accustomed to the start of my working week being different these days; for starters I’ve temporarily waved goodbye to my forty-five-minute commute! So, here I am, sat at my dining room table with a lovely sunny view of my courtyard ready to start my working day. First things first, coffee (some things never change… let’s hope I don’t run out!). I check in with Rachael, my Head of Department, to have a quick chat about workload and how we can service our Clients efficiently during these strange times. I briefly outline my day, and make myself available for the urgent work which inevitably continues to come our way.
It is clear from the guidance issued by the Government that it is imperative that our community has access to advice relating to Wills and Estate Planning from legal professionals. I’ve found that in times of crisis, people look for certainty and elements of their lives still within their control. Preparing a Will or a Lasting Power of Attorney can be a therapeutic process, and we want to help our Clients with this as much as possible.
I spend my morning on the phone to Clients taking their instructions for Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney; two of the cornerstones for life planning. Each conversation begins with me simply checking that the people on the other end of the phone have what they need whilst in isolation. The kindness and empathy is overwhelming at times, and it’s clear that everyone already has a story to tell about the impact of Covid-19.
A short lunch time jog around my village breaks the day up, and new lambs in the fields surrounding my home add a literal spring to my step. Then back to the “office” for an afternoon of drafting!
Tuesday: Locked in and Raring to Go
It’s been a number of weeks now since our Prime Minister ordered the general public to not leave their homes, the exceptions to the rule being very limited indeed. As we settle into this new way of life, my day continues to start with a coffee (you’ll begin to see a trend).
Today I have a telephone appointment with an NHS Nurse who, like many others, would like to put her affairs in order. The Client has a couple of days off before going back to the hospital on Friday and I said I would be happy to prepare her Will by the end of the week. Given the brevity of the current climate, and all the NHS are doing for us at the moment, I want to have the Will ready for her as soon as I can to at least give her a little peace of mind. Instructions taken; I move on to an afternoon of drafting.
Time flies and as I missed my lunchtime jog and the afternoon draws to a close, I try a home yoga session (Yoga with Adriene if anyone is interested, I highly recommend her practices on YouTube…).
Wednesday: Hump Day
I’ve officially made it to the middle of the week! But today I’ve had the dreaded IT drama. It had to make an appearance at some point and today it sure has. Now, my IT department isn’t to blame (I promise they’re not!). They’ve excelled at getting the whole firm up and running and it really does feel like business as usual for us all. If you ring any department in the firm you probably wouldn’t notice any difference. Unfortunately, it would appear its business as usual for my entire village and the internet connection has felt a little strained!
Luckily, I don’t have any Client appointments today and I can draft offline until it resolves itself; which it has by the middle of the morning. If that’s the worst it’s going to get when I’m working from home, then I can get used to it! It’s another glorious day, spring has definitely arrived for us all, and its lovely to get my Will drafting up to date whilst looking at the beautiful scenery outside.
I spend my lunchtime baking a loaf of banana bread – not something I ever thought I would say. And it’s a great reminder that positives can be found at such a difficult time for us all, no matter how small, or yummy!
Thursday: The Joys of FaceTime
It’s almost the weekend! Although, to be completely frank with you the days really do blend slightly when you’re working from home. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up on Saturday morning and logged on!
I spoke to some really lovely Clients on the phone today to take their Will instructions. I’m beginning to feel like I’m getting to know my Clients much better during this crisis. The fast pace of life has slowed down and I allow myself to chat away getting to know them that little bit better; which in turn allows me to fully cater their instructions to exactly what they and their families need.
Lunchtime arrived very quickly today and I had a lovely surprise FaceTime with a fellow Solicitor friend of mine over in Manchester. I haven’t had a work lunch with her in years (it would be a bit of a stretch to commute for lunch!) so it was truly delightful to catch up.
A Lasting Power of Attorney instruction rounded off my day. The practicalities of getting such a document signed and sent off for registration definitely poses a few hurdles. However, I know I can get it arranged for my Client and, given the current climate, I do not consider it’s a document that can really wait.
And it’s arrived! In the blink of an eye the weekend is almost upon us. The weekend seems like a great milestone at the moment to award ourselves at maintaining our social distance and getting through another week together as a country. My team have arranged Zoom catch ups so we can stay in contact and feel a togetherness of sorts too. The meetings allow us to make sure everyone is working well and servicing Clients as best we can; it’s also lovely to occasionally see family members of the team pop up in the background (including the all-important dogs!) who wouldn’t ordinarily make an appearance at work!
I’m working on administering an estate today, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to move these cases forward in light of banks and businesses moving to skeleton staff and remote workers. However, I’m determined to keep the matter up to date and my Client is kept fully in the loop.
I make sure all my matters are up to date before the weekend. It’d be all too tempting to log on every day, but my firm are a strong believer in work and home life balance, it’s important to get headspace and try to switch off after all.
These are different times indeed, but in a funny way much remains the same. It truly is business as usual at Burnetts and it continues to be a real team effort to keep us all up and running from home so we can help our Clients and the wider community.
Michelle is a Solicitor in our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team, ordinarily based out of our Carlisle branch. If you would like to discuss anything relating to Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Trusts or Probate, please do not hesitate to contact our Wills, Trusts and Probate Team on 01228 552222.