If you are no longer able to make life decisions for yourself a Lasting Power of Attorney makes life easier for your family or loved ones.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:
Lasting Power of Attorney – Property and financial affairs
This type of Lasting Power of Attorney deals with your property and finances such as; your bank accounts, payments of bills, investing money.
Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare
Decisions about care homes, medical care, daily routines and life-sustaining treatment are covered in a health and welfare lasting power of attorney. It is important that you appoint someone you trust to act as your attorney.
If you lose mental capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and don’t have a power of attorney any financial decisions will be made by an application to the Court of Protection.
The Court of Protection appoints a deputy to deal with the property, financial affairs and sometimes welfare decisions of people who lack mental capacity. Applications for a deputy through the Court of Protection usually takes several months and can be very expensive. In addition, a deputy would be expected to account to the court every year and pay yearly fees which can be expensive.
Having a will is essential for everyone. If making a will ensures that your estate passes to whom you want it to go to. It gives clear instructions about what you want to happen to everything you own after you die. It is important to regularly review your will and keep it up to date. Preparing your will with a solicitor can ensure that you have thought about everything you need to consider; and that the will is executed correctly ensuring it is a valid document.
What do you include in a will?
- Any funeral wishes can be included in your will however it is important to remember that these are only wishes. If in fact, it is best to discuss your wishes with your family as sometimes a will is not seen until after a funeral.
Executors deal with your estate when you die. They will deal with collecting in your estate and distributing it under the terms of your will.
When you are preparing your will you should think about who should benefit from your estate. Things to think about are:
- specific items or gifts of money you would like to leave
- if you wish to appoint any guardians for your children
- would you like to include any provisions for pets?
- who you would like to receive everything else – after any specific gifts of your possessions or money
- are there any vulnerable beneficiaries? If so, seeking advice can help you plan on how to protect the money you are leaving them
If you have a large estate and there is a possibility that you may have an Inheritance Tax liability on your death. There may be planning you can put in place to reduce the amount payable on your death. If you are leaving behind a large estate, you may consider seeking advice and consider further planning.
Keeping a good record of your assets
Keeping a list of your assets and paperwork in a safe place together. You should tell your loved ones where things are can make it easier for them when you go.
Planning your funeral
Some things you may want to discuss and plan for your funeral are:
- If you want to be buried or cremated
- Whether you would like a religious ceremony or not
- Whom you would like invited
- What songs or readings you would like
- Would you like flowers?
- What clothes you want to wear
- What you would like your guests to wear
Discussing your wishes with family and friends is always a good idea. A funeral allows your family and friends to say goodbye and celebrate your life.