A Will is a legal document which declares a person’s intention as to what should happen to their estate after their death. It ensures that your wishes will be put into effect, your estate passes as you intend and your family’s future secured. You can also take steps to minimise the impact of tax on the next generation.
Whatever your assets, modest or great, self made or inherited, you owe it to your family to put your affairs in good order for the sake of the survivors.
If you do not leave a Will the impact on your family could be grave if not dire, as your estate would be governed by Intestacy rules.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf. The attorney is the person you choose to act on your behalf. This is most often used when you lose mental capacity (the ability to understand the decisions your make), but may also be used if you no longer want to make decisions for yourself. As part of planning for the future we can advise you, giving you clear sensible guidance on the use and creation of Lasting Powers of Attorney.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – property and financial affairs, and health and welfare.
1. Property & Financial Affairs LPA
This allows you to choose one or more attorneys who will then be able to make decisions in respect of your financial and property affairs. This document will continue to be effective if, and when, you lack the mental capacity to make your own decisions. Your attorneys will be able to pay your bills, manage your bank accounts and investments, subject to any restrictions or conditions that you believe to be appropriate. We shall advise on all of those.
2. Health & Welfare LPA
This is a totally separate document to a Property and Financial Affairs LPA. This document gives your chosen attorney or attorneys authority to make decisions relating to any health issues you might have or your personal welfare. It can include the power for the attorney to give or refuse consent to medical treatment or to life sustaining treatment. It can also include decisions with regard to residential care or treatment at home. A Health & Welfare LPA is only effective if you become mentally incapable, but it is a document which you can put in place whilst you are fit and well, to reflect your wishes as to your own future treatment.
It is not possible to set up a Power of Attorney for someone who has lost mental capacity. To do this, members of the family will have to apply to the court to be appointed as their deputies.