Are you considering speaking to the family over Christmas about your Will?
With many family members living several miles from each other it is rare that everyone is under one roof. Christmas can provide an ideal opportunity to discuss your thoughts with your children or relatives as to how you intend to leave your estate.
There may be particular issues to discuss with the family for example where you may have provided financial assistance to one child but are unable to assist your other children in the same way. You may have made promises to your children that they will inherit your home, your farm or the business if they help you, work on the farm or in the family business? All of these situations can potentially cause disputes between family members when you pass away. There is always a solution to all of these issues with the right advice and the best time to seek that advice is now, before anything happens which may mean you can’t forward plan. None of us know what is around the corner and what the future holds. If possible, the best time to put your plans in place is when you are fit and well.
If you are finding it difficult to know how to keep everything fair or need assistance in dealing with a situation whereby you wish to exclude a relative/child from your Will then contact Mandy Weston at Westons Wills and Probate for assistance in putting your plans in place.
Often people will put off using a qualified lawyer to prepare a Will for fear of the expense, choosing to prepare a homemade Will instead. Homemade Wills are also a source of contention and although in the short term money can be saved the bill that is left to other family members in sorting out discrepancies can be enormous not only in money but also in the emotional turmoil.
You may also wish to talk to family members about appointing them as Attorneys to act on your behalf during your lifetime or you may have concerns about another family member or friend and fear that they may need some support in dealing with their day to day affairs. You may want to consider talking to them about giving you power of attorney so that you can assist with property and financial and/or health and welfare matters on their behalf. Often people believe a Lasting Power of Attorney is only required if they lose capacity but this is not the case. An Attorney can act on your behalf with your permission whilst you have capacity and can also act for you if you lose capacity. It may be that you need some help due to a physical injury, a stay in hospital or you may be going abroad for several months and need someone to deal with your property and affairs whilst you are unable to do so.
Many people are under the misconception that they do not require Lasting Powers of Attorney as their next of kin can act on their behalf. However, next of kin does not mean anything in law. With further data protection regulations being brought in early in 2018 organisations are having to be much more vigilant about sharing information and accepting instructions from third parties. By planning ahead and appointing who you would like to act on your behalf if you were not capable of making your own decisions is much better than leaving it until it is too late and someone having to apply to the Court of Protection on your behalf to be your Deputy. Applying to be a Deputy is much more expensive and very time consuming. Whether you are an Attorney or a Deputy, both roles carry responsibility and require a person (Attorney(s)) to act with integrity and honesty. However, if you wait until someone has lost capacity and are forced to apply to have a Deputy appointed, the Deputy has to report to the Office of Public Guardian annually and is required to go back to court to seek permission for many decisions as a Deputy’s power is very restricted. There are also annual supervision fees of several hundred pounds.
Putting in place Lasting Powers of Attorney can seem like an onerous tasks. At Westons Wills and Probate we can advise you on who to appoint, what instructions and preferences should be included in your Lasting Powers of Attorney and deal with the whole process on your behalf ensuring that when your relative or friend wishes you to deal with matters on their behalf it will be a smooth seamless transition.
Westons Wills and Probate offers a professional yet personal and friendly service. If you would like to discuss any of the services provided by Westons Wills and Probate please don’t hesitate to give Mandy Weston a call on 01299 405873 or 07931 411 733