I recently volunteered to be part of a Civil Service Local North West project tasked with bringing government services to vulnerable people – in this case, hospice patients.
Together with my colleague Chris Challenger, we planned and delivered an eight-day event at Trinity Hospice in Blackpool where we gave a series of presentations to patients in the day therapy unit.
As people who aren’t living in their property are more at risk of property fraud, we focused our advice on how HM Land Registry can help with anti-fraud measures such as:
- registering restrictions on empty properties;
- making people aware of our free Property Alert service; and
- how to deal with a property after someone has died.
In addition to the presentations, we offered face-to-face private interviews to discuss patients’ individual circumstances.
During one interview I assisted an elderly lady who wanted to know how to register a property following the death of her husband. She had since fallen ill and wished to protect her interest in the property as a matter of urgency. We were able to provide procedural advice such as what forms were required and how the deed should be executed with reference to our Practice Guide 8. As a result of our assistance, she successfully lodged a first registration.
I was also able to help a member of staff at the hospice who approached me after seeing the leaflets advertising our Property Alert service. She informed me that she had been a victim of identity fraud so was keen to ensure her property was safeguarded. I talked her through the service and suggested she try signing up that night as the process is straightforward. The next day she told me that she had successfully signed up to the service and it had given her greater peace of mind.
Providing information and advice to people at such a sensitive and emotional time was challenging but it was also very rewarding and an excellent example of how we can give something back to our local community.