Three in five adults in the United Kingdom do not currently have a Will. There can be many reasons for this including unable to make decisions on beneficiaries or guardians, not finding someone with sufficient knowledge that they can trust or empathy to understand their concerns. Some people even believe that by making a Will it may somehow bring bad luck and hasten their own demise.
Having a Will in place guarantees you the peace of mind that the following questions are answered for the future:
Who will look after my children in the event of my death?
Who will deal and administer my estate once I’ve passed?
Who will inherit my wealth?
How much will the Government take from my estate after my passing?
Guaranteeing and planning that your children are looked after by people you chose is a vital decision that you need to consider. Also, ensuring that your spouse/partner and children and other rightful beneficiaries will inherit the wealth you have earned and built, regardless of what the future may hold is equally important, this includes making sure that the value of the family home is protected from hostile creditors or unnecessary Inheritance Tax.
What happens if I don’t have a Will?
If you die without making a Will or your Will does not meet legal requirements your are classed as dying Intestate. Your estate is then administered under the rules of intestacy from Section 46 Administration of Estate Act 1925 (AEA 1925). This allocates your estate in a predetermined manner with no input from yourself meaning those people you wish to inherit your estate may not.
Without professional guidance, much of your hard-earned money might end up in the wrong hands or be lost completely.
Taking professional advice on the drafting of your Will and updating it regularly as your circumstances change is the only way to be sure that your wishes will be known and your family fully safeguarded.
Glamorgan Legacy Ltd will take the time to understand your circumstances, your concerns and your requirements. We will listen to you and guide you through the process of creating a valid Will that meets your needs – whether something simple or a more comprehensive solution. Our Estate Planning Consultants are Society of Will Writers qualified so you know that you’re in professional and safe hands.
Lasting Powers of
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney and why you may need one
Dealing with money and paperwork can be difficult if you become unable to manage your own affairs for any reason; if you become unwell this can become even more challenging.
Before that happens it might be easier to appoint a trusted representative – known as an Attorney – who can look after your finances and welfare for you should the situation arise. The Lasting Power of Attorney or LPA is a legal document which allows you to do this.
What types of LPAs are there?
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your Attorney to make decisions about your personal affairs including collecting your income and benefits, paying your bills and selling your home if necessary.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows your Attorney to give or refuse consent to medical treatment and to decide where you live. These decisions can only be taken on your behalf when you are unable to make them for yourself, for example, if you are gravely ill, unconscious or suffering from a condition like dementia.
What happens if I don’t have an LPA?
If you become incapable of making decisions for yourself and have not appointed another person as an attorney, your personal affairs would become the responsibility of the Office of the Public Guardian and it may be necessary for the Court of Protection to become involved. The Court will appoint a person, (called a Deputy) to make decisions on your behalf.
The major disadvantages of not having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place are firstly the possible delay in dealing with your affairs and secondly the cost of making a Deputyship application, which is likely to be much more expensive than making a Lasting Power of Attorney and registering it and there are on-going yearly costs payable to the Court of Protection. You must be made aware that it is actually unlikely that the Court will appoint a Deputy to manage your Health & Welfare affairs, which can then cause added costs and emotionally challenges for your dependents.
Who might need an LPA?
Most of us will be fortunate enough to live long lives, but we may not always be able to manage our own affairs. If you were to suffer a severe physical or mental incapacity, an LPA could protect your interests and make your life much easier and less stressful for your loved ones.
What can my Attorney do?
You can give the Attorney general authority to manage all your finances, including paying your bills, signing cheques, dealing with your bank and buying or selling property and making decisions on medical treatment. However, you are free to restrict the Attorney’s powers if you wish. For example, a business owner might wish for different attorneys for their personal affairs and business affairs.
When would my Attorney’s powers become effective?
An LPA must be certified and then registered with the Court of Protection before you can receive help from the Attorney. You can continue to handle your own financial affairs if you wish, even after a Property and Affairs LPA has been signed. With a Personal Welfare LPA, decisions can only be made on your behalf when you are unable to do so yourself.
The Court process to register an LPA can take several months so a General Power of Attorney might be useful to appoint someone to manage your affairs until the Court completes this process.
Read more about LPAs in a useful guide created by Age Concern UK
Trusts are a legal arrangement that protect your assets. There are two types, one that works whilst you’re alive and the other after you die. Many people put their property and money into a trust to secure a future for their children.
There are different types of trusts available to suit a variety of needs.
Glamorgan Legacy Ltd can talk you through the options available in order to select the correct solution depending on what assets you’re looking to secure.
You can have more than one trust depending on what you’re going to be leaving behind. There are many reasons why you may have trusts:
- Protecting property until children reach an age where they are legally able to take possession of it
- Stop your property being sold to pay for care services
- Reduce inheritance tax liability
- To protect children from ‘sideways disinheritance’
- To provide for a spouse whilst keeping inheritance intact for children.
If you choose to create a trust for your assets you will need to appoint trustees.
You can choose between one and four trustees, and it is usually best practice to appoint at least two.
You may appoint the same people that you have chosen to be your executors, or the guardians for your children.
The Law Society have created a great article if you want to know more about Trusts – find it here
Most people would like to hope that all our hard earned wealth would be available to be enjoyed for many years by our family and loved ones and for the generations beyond.
Our wealth should not just be thought of as solely our free estate which we own and can pass via our Will but also other funds that might be available to others and paid out on our death. We might consider our estate to consist of:
- Stocks and shares
- Bank/savings accounts, bonds and investments
- Business and agricultural assets
- The family home
- Jewellery, cars, art and other personal effects
- Other property
Other funds that could possibly be paid out in the event of our death and not pass via a Will include:
- death in service benefits
- life assurances
- other trust funds
However, factors outside of your control following your death might mean that within one or two generations your wealth has been lost, claimed or wasted – to people such as:
- the tax man
- the local authority
- a new partner/spouse and then his/her children
- claims against your beneficiaries, e.g. creditors
What happens if you don’t plan properly?
Without any estate planning, whether you have a Will or not, any of the following could happen:
Your estate is taxed once on your death, again when your children die, again when your grandchildren die. Over just a few generations the tax man has become a major beneficiary of your estate.
Your death in service benefits will pass to your partner/spouse tax-free but when they die your children will share it with the tax man.
Your property is sold on 2nd death to pay for years of long term care of your surviving partner. With average annual costs of approximately £40,000, your children will share their inheritance with the local authority.
After you die, your partner/spouse finds someone else. Your wealth might be lost to that new partner or his/her children – people you’ve never met.
What is taken into account for Estate Planning?
Glamorgan Legacy Ltd has several options to protect your assets and which solution or solutions work(s) best for you will depend on factors such as:
- Your age, marital status, health, lifestyle and plans for the future
- The value of your home and whether it is mortgaged
- What other funds are available and any income generated
- How much of your estate you need yourself whilst you are still alive
- How much of your estate your partner/spouse needs whilst they are alive and what funds they have themselves
- How much of your estate you also wish to protect for future generations.
Where to store your Will once it’s written
When you have completed your documents, two critical steps will ensure your wishes are carried out: the documents must be correctly signed and witnessed and, to prevent a Will being lost or destroyed or your executors not knowing where to find it, safe storage is crucial.
We arrange for storage in a secure facility where documents are fully protected and insured, via The National Will Archive. Each Will is checked beforehand to ensure that is has been signed and witnessed correctly. You receive copies, certificates of storage and cards to hand to your executors so they know who to contact to retrieve the Will when the time comes.
For a reasonable annual fee payable by standing order we can store your documents and take the worry about your important documents for the completion of your estate.