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Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney

If you would like to discuss making a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact Andrew Robinson or Claire Davies on 01329 236 171 or alternatively you can email us with your enquiry.

See below for some more information about Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Please click here if you need help with dealing with the Estate of someone who has died, or for information about Trusts.

Wills

What is a Will?

A Will, or a Last Will and Testament, is a document which contains your instructions on what will happen to your money, possessions, property and everything else you own after you die. All these items are known as your estate.

Why is it important to have a Will?

There are many reasons but some of the more compelling are:

Without a Will you have no say in what will happen to all the things you own after death. The law will
direct how everything you own is divided up.
Having a Will directs how you wish your estate to be distributed.
Having a Will enables you to choose who carries out your wishes after death, i.e. Executors (your personal representatives who administer your estate) and Trustees (the people appointed to look after a Trust).
If you have young children, a Will allows you to appoint a legal guardian to care for them after your death.

Do I need one now?

If you have any assets, yes.

Can I change my Will at any time?

Yes, a Will can be changed by either preparing a new one, or, by a document known as a codicil. A codicil confirms a previous Will but makes a few changes i.e. gifts can be revoked and new gifts can be added. If a small number of changes are required a codicil is an alternative to rewriting the entire Will. A codicil should be kept in the same place as the Will it changes, this ensures the codicil is not overlooked. Always take professional advice when drafting a Will or Codicil as special legal rules apply as to the way they are drawn up, signed and witnessed. Not observing these rules can make your proposed Will or Codicil invalid.

I already have a Will but my circumstances have changed, do I need to make a new Will?

If you made a Will a few years ago and your circumstances have changed your existing Will may no longer be legally binding. You should consider making a new Will.

If you have married or divorced since making a Will, the Will may now be invalid and may need to be re-made.

What happens if I do not have a Will?

If you should die without making a Will, you are said to have died intestate. Your estate is then divided up according to the rules of intestacy. Your estate may not go to those who you would have liked to have it. It will, instead, go to your nearest relatives, or if you have none it will go to the Crown.

PLEASE NOTE that if you live with someone to whom you are neither married, nor in a Civil Partnership, then your partner cannot inherit from you under your intestacy.

What happens to Joint Assets? Most jointly owned assets pass to the surviving owner or owners on your death, automatically. However, if you own a property as tenant in-common with someone else, your share is part of your estate and is dealt with in your Will.

A Will is a very important document and we understand you may have questions on points not covered here. For further information, or to make an appointment, contact Claire Davies or Andrew Robinson on 01329 236171.

Lasting Power of Attorney

There may come a time when, because you are incapable of managing your property and financial affairs or personal welfare issues, you will need someone to do this for you. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you appoint someone you trust as an Attorney to make decisions on your behalf.

It can be drawn up at any time while you have capacity, but has no legal standing until it is registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

A registered Lasting Power of Attorney could be used at any time, if you so choose, whether you have the capacity to act for yourself or not.

There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney.

  • A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power allows you to choose someone to make decisions about how to use your money for your benefit, and manage your finances, and, if necessary, sell your home.
  • A Health and Welfare Lasting Power allows your Attorney to make decisions about your healthcare and welfare, including where you live, and to consent to, or refuse, treatment on your behalf, including whether or not to allow you life-saving treatment.

It is sensible to choose a person or persons you can trust to act in your best interests.
The Power(s) ought to be registered as soon as possible, after being signed, to avoid lengthy delay later, when the Power may be needed more urgently.

If you so desire, relatives or friends can be notified of the registration. This would give them an opportunity to object, if they felt that there was any abuse of the Power. Before completing any Lasting Power, it needs to be counter-signed by one or, in some cases, two Certificate Providers, who are asked to confirm that you have capacity and understand the document and are not being improperly forced to sign it. This acts as a further safeguard for you.

You can cancel your Lasting Power at any time, if you have the mental capacity to do so. A Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power is revoked if you or your Attorneys become bankrupt, but a Health and Welfare Lasting Power is not terminated by bankruptcy.

There are certain formalities and practicalities involved in the making of these documents and so, for further information or a meeting to discuss your needs, please call Andrew Robinson or Claire Davies on 01329 236171.

N.B. If you already have an Enduring Power of Attorney, then you do not need to make a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney as your Enduring Power of Attorney should cover these aspects, and is still legally valid. You should, however, give serious consideration to making a Health and Welfare Lasting Power, as personal welfare is not covered by an Enduring Power.

If you do not have an Enduring Power or Lasting Power, then your family, or close friends have to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as Deputy to manage your affairs under the Court’s control. This can be a lengthy process and is rather more costly than setting up Lasting Powers.

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