Wills & Lasting Power of Attorney
Wills & Lasting Power of Attorney
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that lets others know how you want to distribute your estate when you pass away. It allows you to specify the identity of your Beneficiaries and the Executors responsible for dealing with your Will.
Types of Will
Mirror Will – Couples can choose to adopt a Mirror Will, whether they are married, unmarried or in a civil partnership. As the name suggests, Mirror Wills allow you:
Appoint people you both trust to be the Executors to your estate, name the beneficiaries for specific possessions or gifts, name the residuary beneficiaries (who receive the remainder of your estate after all debts have been paid and all Beneficiaries of gifts have received their inheritance), appoint Guardians for any children under the age of 18, notify of any specific wishes regarding charities, pets or funeral arrangements.
Single Will – A Single Will applies only to one person. It offers the same options as a Mirror Will, but identifies the individual’s wishes only, which include:
Appoint the Executors to your estate, name the beneficiaries for specific possessions or gifts, name the residuary beneficiaries (who receive the remainder of your estate after all debts have been paid and all Beneficiaries of gifts have received their inheritance), appoint Guardians for any children under the age of 18, notify of any specific wishes regarding charities, pets or funeral arrangements.
Trust Will – Trusts can offer increased protection of your property and possessions for loved ones. If you own a property, have significant savings, or wish to ensure that vulnerable people are cared for, a Trust can give you greater peace of mind.
What happens if I don’t write a Will?
Some people assume that their Estate will automatically pass to their closest family members. Without a Will, however, the rules of intestacy apply and the government will decide how your estate is divided.
This could result in an outcome against your wishes. It may also mean that your belongings can’t be given to other people – including relatives, close friends, or causes that you care about.
Keeping your Will safe
It is very important to keep your Will in a safe place, and one that can be readily found at the appropriate time. It can also be helpful to alert loved ones or friends that you have a Will.
Why a Will and Lasting Power or Attorney
A Will protects your beneficiaries’ interests after you’ve died, but a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) protects your own interests while you’re still alive – up to the point where you die. The moment you die, the power of attorney ceases and your will becomes relevant instead. There’s no overlap.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf, should you lack mental capacity to make your own decisions in the future, this could be a result of illness or an accident.
The important thing about LPAs is to arrange them now, while you are able to.
Types of Lasting Power of Attorney
The Property & Financial Affairs LPA – This LPA gives your attorneys the power to make decisions relating to money and property including matters such as:
Managing a bank or building society account, re-finance your house/deal with any property you own, pay your bills or manage your investments.
The Health & Welfare LPA – This LPA gives your attorneys the power to make decisions relating to matters such as:
Your daily routine (e.g washing, dressing, eating), the type of medical care you receive, when to move into care, and the care provider.
You are also able to give them the power to consent to/refuse medical treatment on your behalf.
A health and welfare LPA can only be used when you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
What happens if you don't have Lasting Power of Attorney?
No one wants to consider losing the ability to manage their own affairs, but if you haven’t got a Lasting Power of Attorney and the worse happens your family, will have to apply to the Court of Protection to have a deputy appointed to deal with everyday financial matters.
Property & Financial Affairs LPA and Equity Release
Although it is not necessary for you to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in order to take out an equity release plan, Paul Leonard Financial Services strongly recommended that anyone choosing a ‘drawdown’ lifetime mortgage should arrange a Property & Financial Affairs LPA.
For a single person and equity release plan is in just your name, then should you have an accident or start to lose mental capacity you may be unable to request further drawdowns yourself.
The same applies for a couple you will both need to agree and sign the papers in order to release further funds. It is not enough for just one of you to be able to sign unless an LPA is in place.
An LPA will enable your chosen attorney (your spouse, for example) to sign the required papers on your behalf, enabling further releases in the future.