Christmas and New Year is traditionally a time when families get together to enjoy the festivities. It is also a time for reflection and future planning, particularly as many people are off work for the extended holiday period and, for once, have time to consider their current position, be it from a personal or financial perspective. Many of these thoughts lead into New Year’s resolutions, which may or may not be followed through!
However, one resolution that we at Kirkham Legal strongly advise all of our clients to make is to get your legal affairs in order. This can be done quickly and, once completed, you can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that you have made provision for your nearest and dearest should the worst happen to you. We are not meaning to cause any upset, but it is vital that you have a properly drawn will and have put in place the protection of a Lasting Power of Attorney.
Everyone knows the benefits of having a will. You appoint people you trust to sort out your estate in the event of your passing, and those people then carry out your wishes before ultimately giving your estate to your chosen beneficiaries. If you died without a will, your estate would be distributed according to law, by people appointed by law, and this may not actually accord with your lifetime wishes. For example, these rules do not make any provision for people living together, irrespective of the length of the relationship. There are many other valid reasons why a will should be in place. Wills are relatively inexpensive to prepare, so the cost should not be prohibitive.
In contrast, not everyone understands the benefits of a Lasting Power of Attorney, but in our opinion they should. There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney, dealing with health and financial issues. It is a matter for you as to whether you prepare one or both, but the financial Lasting Power of Attorney is by far the most popular. If you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, hopefully your family or friends will never need to use it, but if you lose your faculties its’ real value will then become clear, and save your said family or friends considerable stress, hassle, delay and expense by being able to access your funds and assets on your behalf. Without this protection in place, they could not just access your assets, even to pay important expenses such as rent, mortgage, care fees, child maintenance, etc. In those circumstances, a close relative, friend or colleague (and possibly social services) would have to make an application to the Court of Protection, which is an expensive and lengthy process. The benefit of a Lasting Power of Attorney is that you choose a trusted relative or friend (or professional if you prefer) to step into your shoes and take control of your finances in the event of your future incapacity, however it may arise.
If you wish to discuss any of the issues in this article, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 393 2299.
Our Practice Licence Number is 11250.