As the latest Lockdown continues now is a good opportunity to get your affairs in order and, in particular, to check that you have a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in place.
An LPA is a legal document in which you appoint trusted people to make certain decisions for you when you are unable to do so due to incapacity. There are two types of LPA. The first is for your property and financial affairs. This deals with assets such as your house, bank accounts and investments. Without an LPA no one can deal with your assets if you are unable to do so, even your spouse. The second LPA is for health and welfare issues and covers decisions such as where you live and what medical treatment you receive. It can also authorise your attorney to be involved in decisions relating to life sustaining treatment. Without having an LPA in place members of the medical profession are not obliged to involve anyone in such decisions, even your spouse.
It goes without saying that the choice of your attorney or attorneys is of crucial importance as they could end up making very important decisions on your behalf.
Your Will deals with the distribution of your assets after your death. It appoints executors, who administer the estate, and beneficiaries who receive your assets. It can also be used to appoint guardians for your young children and specify who you would like to receive particular chattels such as your jewellery or heirlooms.
If you do not have a Will your estate is distributed to your relatives in accordance with the rules of intestacy. These rules may not deal with your estate in the way you would wish. Alternatively, if you already have a Will it may not accord with your current wishes so it is important that you regularly review and update your Will.
Having a Will and LPAs in place will give you peace of mind. For further information please contact Jenny Mayhew in the Private Client Department on 01825 747 129.