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Wills

Putting off making a will until it is too late can pose all sorts of problems for the people you leave behind. Not making a will could mean that some or all of your inheritance either goes to the wrong person, or to the state.

Making a will enables you to plan what will happen to your estate following your passing. This ensures that those you would like to benefit actually do so in accordance with your wishes. At the same time, you avoid possible disputes between relatives. The peace of mind afforded by making a will is most important of all.

Without a will in place:

  • You cannot be sure those you would wish to benefit will actually do so
  • Your spouse/civil partner will not automatically inherit ALL of your estate
  • ‘Common Law’ partners may not receive anything
  • Minor children could be taken into care whilst guardians are appointed
  • There could be lengthy delays for your beneficiaries as well as disputes
  • You cannot prevent certain family members from benefitting
  • You will not be able to leave something to friends, colleagues or charities, all of whom fall outside of the rules of intestacy

For a comprehensive guide to the rules of intestacy, click here


Trusts

Making a will is a good start, but your bloodline’s inheritance could be severely impacted without the requisite planning in place.

Through future divorce settlements, creditors/bankruptcy, care fees, and further inheritance tax bills, anything set aside for your children could be lost.

This is where trusts come in to play.

A trust is a legal relationship which is created when you (the settlor) transfer assets to two or more people (trustees) with instructions that they hold the assets for the benefit of your loved ones (beneficiaries).

To achieve this, the trust separates the legal ownership of the asset or property from the beneficial ownership. The legal ownership of an asset is given to the trustees who are bound by the terms and conditions of the trust deed and subject to general trust law. It is their duty to hold and administer the trust property in the best interests of your chosen beneficiaries.

As a result of the trustees owning the trust property, it will no longer be deemed a part of your beneficiaries’ estates. Therefore, these trust assets, managed properly, would not be subject to any claims on your beneficiaries.

There are a plethora of trusts available to suit a variety of needs. Please get in touch to find out more.


Lasting Powers of Attorney

Lasting Powers of Attorney are powerful legal documents which allow an individual (donor) to appoint a person or persons of their choice (attorney) to look after their affairs should they no longer wish to make these decisions, or they lack the capacity to manage their affairs themselves.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Loss of mobility or illness can make it difficult to manage your affairs
  • The prospect of unpaid bills can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety and delay someone’s recovery
  • Even the young can encounter problems due to accident or illness
  • Minor children could be taken into care whilst guardians are appointed.
  • An elderly relative losing capacity is difficult enough for loved ones without the added worry that finances are becoming muddled

If you care about what happens to your assets after you die, then it follows that you must care equally about keeping those assets and your personal welfare in good hands while you are alive.

If you were to suffer an accident and be confined to bed or hospital, contract an illness or have a more serious accident that permanently incapacitates you, or you become mentally incapacitated as a result of old age or some other reason, then without an LPA in place the ONLY way your financial affairs can be managed is by an application (by a relative or someone close to you) being made to the Court of Protection for deputyship.

Here are the pitfalls of applying for deputyship:

  • The process costs a considerable amount of money
  • It can take anywhere between 12 weeks and 10 months to finalise
  • In the time elapsed, your finances could be seriously damaged
  • A judge will make the final decision as to who is appointed as deputy, and this may not be someone you would have preferred