Traditionally January and February are the coldest months in the UK and a time to wrap up warm.  Of course, as we write this, the contrary British weather has decided to disagree and it’s a balmy 10 degrees outside, but who knows what the coming weeks will bring?!  At Backhouse Solicitors we still think this is the ideal time of year to run your eye over your legal affairs and those of any elderly relatives just in case.  So, what should you be looking for?

Step 1 – Check that your Will is up to date

If you have already made a Will, check that it’s up to date and still suits your wishes and circumstances.  Have you bought a house, got married or divorced, had children, suffered a bereavement, or faced another big life change?  These are all events that could change your wishes for the future, so it is important that your Will reflects this.

If you don’t have a Will, you should seriously consider putting one in place as your estate won’t necessarily pass to your loved ones as you would expect, especially if you aren’t married.  We see many cases of people who thought they would be looked after receiving nothing, or money going to the wrong people all because the deceased didn’t get round to making a Will.

Visit our Will page here to find out more about what’s involved in making a Will.

Step 2 – Consider a Lasting Power of Attorney

If you or a family member become incapacitated and not mentally fit to make decisions, you need to know that a trusted person can step in to help.  This is particularly important for elderly or frail relatives at this time of year as they are much more vulnerable to the weather and the inevitable winter illnesses that go around.

We strongly recommend putting in place two Lasting Powers of Attorney, one for Financial Decisions and one for Health and Care Decisions to cover all the important decisions that need to be made following an accident or ill health leading to a lack of mental capacity.  If this is done before any ill health occurs then trusted loved ones will be able to act immediately when needed, without the need for a costly and time-consuming application to the Court of Protection.

Visit our Lasting Power of Attorney page here to find out more.

Step 3 – Review any existing care packages

If you are caring for others, this is a good time to make sure that any existing care package is still suitable for their needs.  Have their circumstances changed?  Do they have greater needs than before?

If they receive Local Authority assistance, it’s worth checking that any financial assessment is up to date so that they are getting the financial help they deserve.

We can help with your Winter legal health check

We understand that Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney aren’t the most straightforward of legal documents, and that’s where we can help you.  If you would like us to talk you through what you already have in place, and what you should ideally have in place, then contact us today to book a free initial consultation with one of our friendly, expert solicitors.  Don’t cross your fingers and hope – we’re here to make sure you pass that legal health check!

How to contact us

Tel:          01245 893400
Visit:       17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU
Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website.