The stresses of everyday life often mean making a will and lasting power of attorney are put to the back of a very long to-do list. But it's so important to consider both making a will and a lasting power of attorney so that you can provide for your loved ones and simplify your affairs.
Many people know that they should make a will but simply never get round to making one.
This can lead to an additional burden for family left behind at what is already a very upsetting and difficult time.
A will not only enables you to specify who will benefit from your estate but we can also advise on tax planning measures to reduce inheritance tax. It can give you peace of mind that your loved ones will be adequately provided for and in accordance with your wishes.
Similarly lasting powers of attorneys can ensure that your wishes are carried out during your lifetime should you not be able to make decisions yourself.
In this document you are able to appoint an attorney (one or more) to act on your behalf.
There are two different types of LPAs, Health and Welfare or Property and Financial. Many people decide to have both as they both have very different functions.
The property and finance LPA enables your attorneys to make decisions about your property and finances such as buying or selling property, managing investments and accessing your bank accounts to pay expenses such as care fees. This type of LPA can be used even if you still have the capacity to manage your affairs. You might for example be incapacitated from illness and want help whilst you recuperate.
Without an LPA your family could face a lengthy and expensive court application to obtain authority to deal with your affairs. If any property or savings are in your sole name then not even a spouse can access them without an LPA.
A Health and Welfare LPA enables your attorneys to make decisions about medical treatment, where you live and with whom, and even deciding what you wear and how you spend your day.
Unlike the property and finance LPA it can only be used if you lose capacity.
You must obviously have complete trust in your attorneys and believe that they will act in your best interests. Most people will appoint members of their families or trusted friends. We can in some circumstances be appointed as attorneys.
Neither LPA can be used however until they are registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
It's also important to note that you can only make a will and LPA whilst you still have mental capacity.