We may not want to think about illness, old age or even the event of our death just yet – but getting our affairs in order will ensure that our assets are passed to the right people if any of these things happen.
This is where making a Will and a Power of Attorney helps – these legal documents contain details of who gets control of our assets if we ever become incapacitated or die. However, there’s often confusion made between the two, so it’s important to know the legalities before you press ahead and sign.
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at Wills and Powers of Attorney – what they are, why you might need one and how to make them. So read on to learn more.
Wills and Power of Attorney Services
Why you should make a will
The process of making a Will takes some time, but once it's done you can feel confident that your wishes concerning the disposal or distribution (or both) of your assets on death will be carried out according to what was intended. It may also make things easier for those left behind who are tasked with managing all these matters during difficult times.
If you die without a valid Will, your assets will pass according to the Intestacy Rules. These state that only specific family members may benefit from them – which could mean loved ones are left without anything. For example, Intestacy Rules do not recognise unmarried partners meaning that a co-habiting partner would not receive anything. Similarly, if you are married then your children would only inherit if your Estate is worth over a certain amount – this is a concern, particularly if you have children from a previous marriage.
If you have already prepared a Will, significant family changes or changes to taxation may often occur, impacting the value of your Will. Therefore, we believe it’s important to review any existing Wills every 5 to 10 years to mitigate any deviations.
Preparing a new Will isn’t as daunting as it may sound – here at Rowberrys, we specialise in simplifying the whole process; explaining all the ‘legal jargon’ and ensuring you’re aware of each and every step before you go ahead and dictate your Will.
Lasting Power of Attorney – What is it and why you should make one?
Many people may confuse a Lasting Power of Attorney with a Will – they may even assume that because they have a Will in place, it provides some kind of control. This isn’t the case.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is used to nominate family members or trusted friends to act on your behalf if you were to lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself. Mental capacity could diminish due to age, illness or accident and so an LPA will provide some reassurance that your affairs are taken care of in that event. Lasting Powers of Attorney deal with decisions that reference your property affairs and health and welfare during your lifetime, whereas a Will dictates what will happen to them after your death.
If there is no Power of Attorney in place in the event of you losing your capacity – and your personal affairs need to be dealt with – it will be necessary to make an application to the Court of Protection which can be an expensive and lengthy process. This can be mitigated by a Power of Attorney as it legally dictates who the client has chosen to act on their behalf.
The Lasting Powers of Attorney replaced the previous ‘Enduring Powers of Attorney’; while these can no longer be created, existing Enduring Powers do remain valid. The key difference between the two is that an LPA will only take effect once it has been registered with the Court.
The team here at Rowberrys can not only help you to create your own LPA but if someone has lost the capacity to make decisions and there is no Power of Attorney in place, we can help you to make an application to the Court of Protection to act on their behalf.
Need more advice on making a Will or Power of Attorney? Get in touch with our team today!
Here at Rowberrys, our specialist team are vastly experienced in all aspects of family law and will support and guide you through important decisions with realistic advice tailored to your individual circumstances.
If you have any questions about anything regarding Wills or Powers of Attorney, our friendly team are on hand to help. Do not hesitate to give us a call today on 01344 959166