New Year, New Will?
Wills and Probate Solicitor Charlotte Day discusses what the New Year means for your Will in her latest blog…
With everyone talking about New Year Resolutions at the moment it’s easy to get caught up in all the new and exciting things that you might have planned for the year ahead. However, in that list of exciting plans, it would also be sensible to think about some ‘life admin’ tasks, such as reviewing your Will.
Why Should I Review My Will?
We recommend that you review your Will every 3-5 years, as circumstances can change quite dramatically in that time. You might find yourself in a better financial position, you might have more children/grandchildren or you might now be in a new relationship, or not in one at all any more.
If you haven’t reviewed or updated your Will since these changes in your life, then it may no longer do what you want it to.
Even if you haven’t had any major life changes in this time, it’s always worth reviewing your Will in case there are other things that you may now wish to do with your Will to protect your assets for your loved ones. For example, a trust which can protect your interest in a property against care home fees, or the re-marriage of your spouse/civil partner.
Preparing a Will is also an opportunity to take stock of your assets, as there may be some estate planning that you could undertake to protect your assets and mitigate inheritance tax.
What If I Don’t Have A Will?
If you don’t have a Will, then now is a perfect opportunity to speak to us about your circumstances and your wishes in respect of your assets on death.
Preparing a Will enables you:
– to decide who should deal with your estate following your death
– to decide on any funeral wishes
– to make arrangements for your children
– to direct who should benefit from your assets (and who should not, if this is the case)
If you don’t have a valid Will in place before you die, then your estate will pass in accordance with the Intestacy Rules, which could mean that wider family, or perhaps estranged family members, may inherit. If there isn’t any family alive at the time of your death, then your assets will pass to the Crown.
What About Lasting Powers of Attorney?
When making your Will, or when reviewing an existing Will, it is also worth considering your Lasting Powers of Attorney. These are the legal documents required to give others authority to make decisions about your finances and your health, if there comes a time when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself, or in respect of your finances, when you ask someone for assistance with managing these.
If you do not have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place and you lose your mental capacity, then your loved ones may need to make an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order to enable them to make these decisions for you.
A Court of Protection application is lengthy, time consuming and often quite stressful for family members, so in most cases a Lasting Power of Attorney would be preferable.
If you have any questions regarding writing or renewing a Will, please feel free to contact me on 01283 214231 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, visit the Wills & Probate section of our website here.