A Will is a legal document that sets out who you would like to receive your assets on your death. If you do not have a Will in place, your estate will be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules, which set out who inherits from your estate, based on the relatives that you have at the date of your death, and to a certain extent, the value of your assets. Even if you are married or in a civil partnership, it is not guaranteed that your spouse will inherit the whole of your estate if he or she survives you. If you are not married to your partner, they will not receive anything from your estate regardless of how long you have been in a relationship or lived together. Clearly, this would be unsatisfactory for many and could create uncertainty and financial problems for your loved ones at an already difficult time.
The only way to ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes on your death is to put a Will in place.
Although a Will is perhaps one of the most important documents you will sign during your lifetime, the majority of the UK population do not have a valid Will in place. Writing a Will can be daunting, perhaps distressing experience for many but once signed will provide you with peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out. It will certainly be something that your future self will thank you for.
If you have a Will already, when was the last time you reviewed it? We recommend that you review your Will periodically to ensure it is still appropriate for you circumstances, or whenever there is a change in your financial or family circumstances, or when there is a change in the law, such as to inheritance tax legislation. Only time will tell whether the effects of Brexit will impact on this area of law. Further re-consideration of your Will may be required once an outcome has been agreed, particularly if you have connections with the EU, such as owning property abroad.
Why not use the uncertainty of these current times to take back control and get your own affairs in order?
Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint people to manager your property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare matters, should you become unable to do so in future, as a result of illness or an accident.
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, it may be necessary for you family members to apply to the Court of Protection for authority to act on your behalf. This can be a distressing and lengthy process and is far more expensive than making an Lasting Power of Attorney. It can also lead to uncertainty as to who will be responsible for making such decisions. Again, why not create certainty for yourself and loved ones by putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that your affairs can be managed and decisions made on your behalf should the worst happen.
If you would like to make a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney or to review your existing documents, Helen Robinson, a Solicitor in our Private Client department, would be delighted to assist you.
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