How often have you intended putting your affairs in order, but just do not seem to have the time? Why not take advantage of the lockdown and use the time you have for your benefit.
Although our offices are currently closed, all our solicitors have relocated and are working from home. They are available to help you in these difficult times.
Our team can offer telephone appointments or Zoom/Skype meetings and they will endeavour to make the process as easy as possible. Things that you may wish to consider:
Making or updating your Will
If you die without leaving a Will (known as dying intestate) the law steps in and directs how your estate is dealt with.
A common misconception is that people believe that their estate will automatically pass to their surviving spouse or civil partner or someone they are living with. If you are married or in a civil partnership what happens to your estate will depend upon its value, but there is the possibility that it will not all pass to the survivor. If you live with your partner and you are not married then your partner would not benefit under the Rules of Intestacy.
If you want certain people to benefit from your estate after you die, then a Will is absolutely necessary. We can also provide advice if there is a family member you want to exclude from your Will.
If you already have a Will, make sure you check it is up-to-date. Are the Beneficiaries correct? Are the Executors appropriate for the decision making roles which they will have? Have the family and financial circumstances changed for you? Who will look after young children if both parents were to pass away? Have the Tax rules changed since you made your Will? All these things need to be considered even if you already have a Will.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
By preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) you can appoint one or more people you trust to help you with your affairs.
There are two different types of LPAs:
- Property and Financial affairs
This can cover all decisions relating to your Finances. For example the buying and selling of your house and other assets, operating bank and building society accounts.
- Health & Care
This can cover all decision relating to your health and welfare. For example consenting to or refusing medical treatment on your behalf, and on day-to-day matters such as diet and dress.
If you do not have LPAs and you lose mental capacity, no one will have the legal authority to make decisions for you. It is possible for someone to be appointed by the Court of Protection as your Deputy. Deputies are also usually only appointed to make decisions regarding your finances and it is rare that a health and care Deputy is appointed. Other disadvantages are that the application is lengthy and it is made at a time when you do not have capacity. As a result there would be a delay before anyone could assist you with your finances and you would have no say in who is appointed to make decisions for you.
If you would like advice please contact our Sarah Littlewood or Laura Kirton on 01405 813108 and one of them will get back to you to discuss matters further. Sarah and Laura are both full members of Solicitors for the Elderly and Sarah is also a Trust and Estate Practitioner.