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Why you need a will and a Lasting Power of Attorney

A will and lasting power of attorney gives you peace of mind. Read Graysons’ Sheffield and Chesterfield solicitors guide to effective wills and estate planning.

A will and lasting power of attorney offer you and your family protection, helping to ensure your wishes are adhered to while helping to protect family wealth. With a will, you have peace of mind that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes. At the same time, a lasting power of attorney ensures that a trusted individual or individuals will manage your affairs should you no longer be able to do so yourself. Many people opt to make a will and lasting power of attorney at the same time, giving them peace of mind that their affairs will be managed according to their wishes, not only after they die but also before,  while also protecting close family and friends from unnecessary worry, stress, and extra costs should the worst happen.

Graysons’ team of Sheffield and Chesterfield  solicitors answer some frequently asked questions about the importance of effective wills and estate planning, including the benefits of having a will and lasting power of attorney in place.

Why is it important to have a will?

When you have a last will and testament in place, you have peace of mind that your estate will be passed on or divided amongst your intended beneficiaries. If you die without a will, then your estate will be managed according to the rules of intestacy, which means you won’t have a say as to who receives your estate or how it is divided up. This may mean that your assets could be  distributed to people you would have excluded, such as an ex partner or spouse. Having a will also save your loved ones the time and expense of a  complex probate process. With a will, you give your loved ones a seamless roadmap that lays out your final wishes regarding how you would like your affairs managed. Finally, a will can ensure you limit the tax liability on your estate. If you would like advice on writing your last will and testament, contact Graysons’ team of will writing solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield.

What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, then your estate will be managed according to the rules of intestacy. This means that the law will govern who gets your estate and what share. There are several factors that the law considers, including the number of children you have, the size of your estate, and whether you are married. In certain scenarios, dying without a will can be especially problematic. For example, if you are separated from your spouse but not divorced, they will be entitled to your entire estate. If you have re-married, this may leave children from a previous marriage without any share of your estate. Finally, if you do not have any living relatives, you risk your estate going to the Crown. Many in this situation opt to leave their estate to charitable causes in their last will and testament.

The law sets out an order of priority that governs who is entitled to a share of your estate.

The order of priority in England and Wales is:

  • A spouse or civil partner, entitled to the entire estate if there are no children
  • Children, entitled to an equal share of the estate with other siblings if the deceased was not married or in a civil partnership at the time of death. If a child has died, their share of the estate is passed on to their children.
  • Parents, entitled to the entire estate if the deceased had no children and was not married or in a civil partnership at the time of death
  • Brothers and sisters, entitled to an equal share of the estate with other siblings if the deceased was not married or in a civil partnership, had no children, or living parents.
  • The Crown, entitled to the entire estate if no surviving relatives are found.

How can I write a will?

Writing a will is effortless when you use the services of an experienced will writing solicitor, such as Graysons’ team of will solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield.  Our team of will writing experts will be able to guide you through the process of writing your last will and testament. They will also be able to offer effective wills and estate planning, including advice on how to put a lasting power of attorney in place. Many people opt to write a will and make a lasting power of attorney at the same time.

What is a lasting power of attorney?

With a lasting power of attorney, you give a trusted individual or individuals – known as your agent – the legal authority to manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf should you lose mental capacity. A lasting power of attorney is a vital safeguard, ensuring that your chosen agent or loved ones can make decisions on your behalf. Many people presume that their spouse or civil partner can automatically manage their affairs should they no longer be able to, but this isn’t always the case. You can set up a lasting power of attorney at any time (as long as you have the mental capacity to do so) and many people choose to do so when writing their will.

What are the two different types of lasting power of attorney?

There are two types of lasting powers of attorney; one that covers health and welfare and another that covers property and financial affairs. You can choose to have just one or both and can make them far-reaching in their scope, or limit them to just a few aspects. A health and welfare lasting power of attorney gives your agent the power to make decisions about your day-to-day care, including where you should live, what medical treatment you should receive, and what social activities you should participate in. A property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney gives your appointed agent the legal authority to manage your financial affairs, including paying bills, buying or selling property you may own, managing any debts, handling any welfare benefits, and making limited monetary gifts on your behalf. It’s important that a lasting power of attorney is correctly worded to avoid any ambiguity. Graysons’ Sheffield and Chesterfield solicitors can help you draw up a lasting power of attorney that accurately reflects your wishes.

What happens if I don’t have a lasting power of attorney?

If you don’t have a lasting power of attorney in place, then it is likely that the Court of Protection will become involved should you lose the capacity to manage your own affairs. The Court, will assess your mental capacity, and if necessary,  will appoint an agent or deputy to make decisions on your behalf. The deputy will act on your behalf within the scope of the powers appointed to them by the Court of Protection. The elected deputy maybe someone  you would not have appointed  had you made a lasting power of attorney. Additionally, going through the Court of Protection can be costly and time-consuming, causing loved ones undue stress and upset. It’s important to note that you can only make a lasting power of attorney while you still have the mental capacity to do so, which is why many people opt to put one in place when they make their last will and testament.

How can I set up a lasting power of attorney?

The best way to set up a lasting power of attorney is when you write your last will and testament. It’s important that the wording of a lasting power of attorney is exact to avoid any ambiguity and that all documents are accurately completed.    Powers of attorney must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they  can be used. Graysons’ team of power of attorney solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield will be able to help you put together a lasting power of attorney that is watertight.

How can Graysons’ solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield  help?

Graysons’ team of solicitors in Chesterfield and Sheffield offer expert wills and estate planning services, giving you and your family peace of mind that your affairs will be managed according to your wishes should the worstss happen. Our will writing solicitors and power of attorney solicitors can help you write a will and put in place a lasting power of attorney. Contact us today if you would like advice on writing your last will and testament and putting in place a lasting power of attorney.

 

 

 

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