We would strongly encourage everyone to make a Will. Your Will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die (all these things together are called your ‘estate’). If you don’t leave a Will, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this might not be in line with your wishes. Your assets could end up being passed to individuals that you would not wish to benefit at the expense of those who you would wish to inherit.
If you die without a Will (known as 'intestacy') then your estate could end up paying Inheritance Tax on much of what you leave behind. A Will can help avoid this.
A Will could protect your children's inheritance in the event of your spouse re-marrying after your death.
A Will also allows you to nominate guardians for your minor children. Otherwise, they could end up being cared for by people that you would deem unsuitable or they could be taken into care.
Probate is the process of dealing with the estate of someone who has died, which generally means clearing their debts and distributing their assets in accordance with their Will.
Carrying out this process alone is a daunting and often complicated, especially at a time which can often be emotional and distressing. This is why most people instruct an independent specialist to carry out this process on their behalf.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document where someone (while they still have mental capacity) nominates a trusted friend or relative to look after their affairs if, in the future, they lose capacity.
If you lose mental capacity without an LPA then no other person has the legal authority to make decisions for you. In this situation, someone would have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as a ‘Deputy’. This can take many months and cost thousands of pounds. In addition, the Deputy must pay an annual fee to the Court of Protection and submit an annual report of their actions. The Court may also place restrictions on the Deputy such as spending limits.
Many people think that an LPA only applies to the elderly but the loss of mental capacity could happen at any age due to illness or accident.
You can only set up a Lasting Power of Attorney when you still have mental capacity. Once you have lost capacity, it's too late!
Please contact us to discuss your situation and requirements.