Our services include Wills, Trust-based Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney, Funeral Plans and Storage solutions for later life planning.
Read on for more information and guidance on our services or get in touch for a consultation.
Why do I need a will?
Without a will the Government decides who gets to inherit your money and property. The laws of intestacy dictate who will inherit and these might not be the people you’d wish.
The Government will also decide who would be guardian of any minor children you have.
It’s especially important to have a will if;
- you have children from a former relationship and are now married
- You want to be able to give your partner or child the right to live in your house for a period of time after you die
- You want to delay children’s inheritance so they don’t automatically inherit at 18
- You are single with no children
Having a will ensures;
- The right people inherit at the right time.
- Your funeral wishes can be expressed
- Executors are appointed to carry out your wishes
- Cash gifts or other significant items will be given to the people you want.
- The people you want to be guardians will be appointed for your children
Whilst a will enables you to express wishes, it can’t ring-fence them. This is particularly true if you’re married with joint assets. When you pass away, your wishes may not be followed if your surviving partner rewrites their will, remarries or ends up going into care.
Trusts enable your assets to be given out to the right people, at the right time.
Some people think trusts are only for the very wealthy. However, they’ve been used for hundreds of years to ringfence assets. Situations where trusts can be used are;
To delay inheritance for minors (ie ensuring they don’t receive all their inheritance at the age of 18, at an age where they may be more likely to spend it on Dominoes and computer games rather than investing it wisely!)
To keep inheritance in the bloodline and protect against sideways disinheritance. So that if your partner remarries, rewrites their will or goes into care, or your adult children divorce, your half of the house is protected by being put into trust for your children or other beneficiaries.
To protect vulnerable beneficiaries, such as those with learning difficulties, ensuring they won’t lose any means-tested benefits and associated support if they inherit money.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint between one and four people to make decisions on your behalf should you lose capacity to make decisions yourself. The people you appoint are called your Attorneys.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is completely separate to your Will, dealing with your affairs while you’re alive and must be registered with the Office of Public Guardian before it can be used. Many people will put LPAs in place at the same time as they write their Will but they can be written at a different time.
Many people aren’t aware that if you were to lose capacity your partner or children have no automatic legal right to manage your affairs or make decisions about your care, even if you are married or have a joint bank account with them. Your loved ones (including your spouse or partner) would have to apply to court for these powers – adding significant cost and worry at an already stressful time for them.
To give them this authority you need an LPA in place appointing them as your Attorneys.
There are two types of LPA;
Property and Finance – your attorney can deal with banks and any other financial institution on your behalf and deal with any property issues. This document can be used with your consent whilst you have capacity and also if you have lost capacity.
Health and Welfare – this document can only be used if you lost capacity. Your attorneys can make decisions around care and life sustaining treatment and release funds to pay for such care.
After you’ve taken the time and trouble to ensure your wishes are accurately reflected in your Will and Lasting Power of Attorney, it’s important to ensure they are stored securely. Unfortunately I see many clients who say they wrote a Will many years previously and have subsequently moved house and now can’t find it. I can offer safe, secure storage of your document for a small annual payment, which also entitles you to make annual amendments to your documents and to have them regularly reviewed free of charge (conditions apply). The Will is also registered on the Certainty Will Register so your relatives have peace of mind knowing it can be found when needed.