Documenting your future wishes is an important way of safeguarding yourself and loved ones by clearly expressing how you would like your personal affairs and assets to be dealt with. Therefore, it's essential that you have confidence in the quality and security of the Will and LPA you have.
Why should you make a Will?
You’ll have likely heard of a Will, even if you’re not entirely sure of what it is and how it works. The main purpose of making a Will
is to state who you would like to inherit your money, property and any other possessions after you pass away. It’s incredibly important for every adult to make and have a Will.
It’s your decision how you would like to divide your assets. Whether you split it between multiple relatives or leave it to one person, the choice is yours and yours alone. You can even leave part or all of your estate to a charity or other organisation.
Making a Will also gives you the opportunity to make arrangements for the care of any children you have. If you have dependants under the age of 18, you can state in your Will who should take responsibility for them and where you would like them to live if you pass away.
This will only come into action if you are not survived by somebody who has legal responsibility for them, for example a partner, husband or wife.
For more on how to make a new Will, call us on 0808 208 4012
or request a callback
What happens if I don’t have a Will?
If you pass away without a valid Will in place, you will have no control over what happens to your money, assets or property. In this instance the government will decide how your estate is distributed under the Rules of Intestacy
. This will lay out which of your living relatives will be able to inherit from your estate.
The rules are incredibly strict and don’t make allowances for some of the more modern family arrangements. For example, if you and your partner lived together, but were never married, your partner would not be recognised under these rules. It’s important to understand the Rules of Intestacy fully. Writing a Will is the best way to ensure your estate is taken care of as you wish.
What is an LPA?
A Lasting Power of Attorney
(LPA) is a legal document which gives the person(s) of your choice power to deal with your affairs. It grants them the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer able to make them yourself.
There are two types of LPA:
- One to cover your health and welfare
- One to cover your money, property and other assets
A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to name a person(s) who you would like to make decisions about your healthcare, medical treatment and living arrangements if you’re not able to voice your own opinion. For example, if you suffer a stroke or illness which means you can no longer communicate.
Your Health and Welfare LPA will step in to make decisions for you on your behalf regarding your treatment and other aspects of your life.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows you to name a person(s) who can deal with any money or property that you own in England or Wales if you can no longer do this yourself.
Why should you make an LPA?
You decide when you would want your LPA to come into effect.
For example, if you develop mobility issues or a health condition that means your daily activities are affected, it might be easier for someone else to take care of your money or other assets on your behalf. However, you might want to keep full control until you’re no longer able. The choice is yours.
It’s important to think about what you want to do carefully and ensure the person(s) you trust to take control of your affairs on your behalf are fully aware of your wishes.
Setting up an LPA means your family will avoid potentially lengthy and costly court proceedings to access funds to pay for your care if you do lose mental capacity.
What happens if I don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney
Don’t assume that someone can automatically step in and help if you’re no longer able to look after your own affairs.
If you’re unable to access your bank account, family members will need to become a ‘deputy’ to use your finances. The application is made through the courts, and it can be an expensive process.
Whether you’ve got utility bills to pay, a mortgage or other outstanding contracts, your family members may find themselves in a situation where they’re unable to help you.
Having a Lasting Power of Attorney can prevent these very stressful situations and secure the support you need.
What are my options for making a Will and LPA?
There are so many options for making a Will and LPA. Choosing the right one for you will depend on a number of factors.
If you are wondering how much it costs to make a Will, you could make a Will
yourself for a low fee, either online or using form templates.
However, if you’re considering how to make a Will at home, there are some things you’ll need to be aware of before you do.