A Will is a binding, legal document that lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after you have passed away. It is important you understand the different types of Will to ensure you get the transition you intend.
Having a Will is vital for you and your family. It enables you to choose your Executors and Trustees, make a gift of specific items, and protect any inheritance.
Most of all, it keeps your wishes and intentions safe from the many pitfalls, which can be a costly stumbling block for your heirs, both financially and emotionally.
Mental capacity is a hard subject to broach; it can be hard to admit that one day we may not be in control. Illness, age, or even an accident can all unexpectedly diminish your mental capacity with no warning. It is the insidious problems surrounding mental capacity that a Lasting Power of Attorney addresses.
It is a legally enforceable document which enables you to transfer power to an Attorney of your choice, giving them the ability to make decisions on your behalf and manage your affairs.
Without an LPA in place, if you were to lose mental capacity, decisions surrounding your welfare, finances, and estate will be made by an individual appointed by the Court of Protection – leaving your family powerless to act on your behalf.
If you die without a Will you die ‘intestate’ in legal terms, meaning your property and belongings may not go to the people you wanted. In such a situation, universal ‘Laws of Intestacy’ determine how your estate will be distributed. This could mean that those who you wanted to leave an inheritance to might not be considered. Similarly, estranged relatives could inherit from your estate.
An LPA can only be set up when you have the mental capacity to do so. They are set-and-forget legal documents, set up way ahead of when you may unfortunately need one.
Without an LPA, those you love and trust may be powerless to act in your interests, without first having to go through the Courts of Protection to get even the smallest transactions done on your behalf.
The Court has the power to appoint someone to manage your affairs, and without an LPA you will have no power as to who this may be.