With spring in the air, we all begin to dust off those winter cobwebs and start the tidy up of our homes and gardens. At that same time, why not consider a spring clean of your financial affairs? For example, what provisions do you have in place for your loved ones if the worst were to happen? Has your Will been reviewed on a regular basis? How organised are you if one day you no longer had the mental capacity to make everyday decisions relating to your finances and personal well-being? Are you aware of your limits in relation to taxes and have you sought sound advice to avoid paying unnecessary tax and care home fees?
Making a Will
The importance of making a Will cannot be underestimated. It is a very powerful document. What will happen to your assets if you have no Will? Who deals with your affairs when the inevitable does happen? Would your family know your funeral wishes? To avoid leaving these questions for your nearest and dearest to answer at a very difficult time, it is vital you put your wishes down on paper in a legal format.
Many people may make a Will but then leave it untouched for decades. It is good practice to keep your Will under regular review (we would suggest every 5 years or after any significant life changes such as new grandchildren or the death of someone named in your Will). It is especially important to review your situation if you have a Will and you have since married. Unless you have made particular reference to your forthcoming marriage in your Will, marriage cancels any previous Will you may have made.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
With an ageing population, many people are making provisions for a time when they are no longer able to deal with their affairs (financial or health and well-being) due to lack of capacity. Lasting Powers of Attorney provide for an individual to appoint others to act with legal authority on their behalf if they become no longer able to deal with them.
A Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney covers a person’s finances, bank accounts, pensions and property. This can be used by the individual and the attorney together as needed. The individual can sometimes have capacity but may no longer wish to carry the burden of their own finances through old age.
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney deals with all of the daily non-money decisions such as keeping you at home, diet and clothing, warding off the authorities and having someone to stand in your corner to speak for you about your personal wellbeing if you find yourself unable to do so.
What would you do in these situations without these documents in place? You would be in a sad pickle.
All of the above can be discussed in one meeting and you can access advice tailored to your personal circumstances.