None of us want to think about dying or losing mental capacity through illness or an accident. With life getting busier, planning for later life and making a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney are things we know we should do, but don’t always get around to. We often think ‘I don’t need to do that yet’ or ‘I will do that at some point’ but life can be unpredictable and unfortunately the unexpected can happen.

This article outlines the importance of making a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney.

Why should you make a Will?

In later life, having a Will in place will outline your wishes and ensure they are carried out after your death, but also brings peace of mind for both you and your family. Being prepared, by taking a few simple steps to get everything in order at an early stage, means life can be made a little easier for your family and friends when the time comes. Visit our Will Writing Service page for information on how we can help.

What do you need to consider?

  • Do you know where your assets will go if you die without leaving a Will? They may not go to who you would like them to.  Many people assume that their assets will automatically go to their partner, but this isn’t necessarily the case, particularly for unmarried couples.  Each year the Government receives millions of pounds from people who haven’t made a Will. Making a Will gives you control over who inherits your estate.
  • Who will look after your children if they are minors? If no provision is made in a Will, it will be for the Court to decide who will be appointed as guardians for your children. By making a Will, you choose who is to care for them.
  • Will your estate be liable for Inheritance tax? The threshold for Inheritance Tax (known as the “nil rate band”) is currently £325,000 for an individual estate and inheritance tax is payable at 40% on the value of the estate that exceeds the threshold figure.  Additional exemptions and reliefs may be available, so estate planning and making a Will can help you minimise the amount of Inheritable tax payable on death.

Why should you include an LPA in your later life plan?

Whilst making a Will ensures that your wishes are carried out following your death, what happens if, due to illness or an accident, you are unable to deal with your finances, such as paying bills or arranging property repairs?

Who would make decisions about your health and welfare, decide where you should live or what medical care you should receive if you lose mental capacity?  It is a common misconception to think that your next of kin can deal with such matters for you, but they have no authority to manage your assets or make decisions about your health and welfare on your behalf.  This can be problematic and cause additional stress at an already difficult time.

If you lose mental capacity, an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy would need to be made. This can be both costly and time-consuming, adding to the stress you and your family or friends may already be feeling. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney whilst you are well, is a simple step you can take to ensure that your matters can be dealt with should this situation arise.

Many people worry that having a Lasting Power of Attorney prepared will stop them from being in control, but a Lasting Power of Attorney cannot be used by your Attorneys until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.  This can be done by you while you’re still capable or by your Attorney at any time before they need to use it.  However, you retain control of your finances if your Attorneys assume that you are capable of dealing with them unless it is established that you cannot do so. When they do act for you, Attorneys have to act in your best interest.

How can we help?

Many people worry about the cost of putting these steps in place but making a Will and arranging Lasting Powers of Attorney can be cheaper than you think. Our specialist team of experts at Backhouse Solicitors offer a free 30-minute consultation which includes basic inheritance tax advice. Prices for making Wills start from just £200 + VAT and Lasting Powers of Attorney from £375 + VAT (there is an additional fee for registration at the Office of Public Guardian of £82 per document).  We also offer a discount when making a Will and arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney together, saving you both time and money.

For more information on our Will writing service and preparing a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact our expert team today to book your FREE 30-minute consultation.

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