It’s Lent – the Christian period of time for reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. With that in mind, what better time than to focus your mind on your affairs and having everything in order so that you and your family have a secure and comfortable future. This can be sorted with both a Will and Power of Attorney.
Your Will is probably one of the most important documents that you can make. It is vital if you wish to protect your family and ensure that, when you die, your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes and to provide peace of mind in knowing that your affairs will be in order. It should be drawn up by a solicitor experienced in these matters.
If you choose not to make a Will, or simply never get round to it, then the law decides how your estate is distributed and this may not be how you would wish. If you are married, there is a misconception that your spouse will automatically receive your entire estate, but this is not always the case and is dependent upon various factors. Children may inherit more than your spouse and relatives you don’t like or don’t know may inherit!
Everyone should have a Will in place, but it is a priority if you are married, have children, especially young children or family members with learning difficulties or other issues, you own property here or overseas , or you have family/relatives you want to try and disinherit.
Your Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to look after your best interests during your lifetime should you become incapable of looking after your own affairs.
You can appoint more than one Attorney and you can stipulate in the document whether they are to act independently or jointly. Ideally the powers should cover both financial and welfare matters, and to be legally enforceable, the document needs to be in place before you lose capacity. You would be unable to grant a Power of Attorney if you were considered to be incapable. Instead, it may then become necessary to undertake a court process to have a Guardian appointed to look after your affairs. The Guardianship process is an often lengthy, not to mention costly, process, but having a Power of Attorney in place negates the need for such action to be taken.
Predicting the future is impossible. However, having a Power of Attorney put in place will ensure that your affairs can be managed in the event that you are no longer capable of attending to matters yourself. If you remain in good health until your death and the Power of Attorney is never needed, then so be it. However, if you become incapable and don’t have one, sorting things out for you could be complex and expensive.
Should you wish to discuss updating or putting a Will and/or Power of Attorney in place, please do not hesitate to contact our Private Client team, who would be more than happy to assist.
Have a Happy Easter.