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Wills and powers of attorney

By making a will you can decide what happens to your property and possessions after your death. Although you do not have to make one by law, it is the best way to make sure your estate is passed on to family and friends exactly as you wish. If you die without a will, your assets may be distributed according to the law rather than your wishes.


Why make a will

A will sets out who is to benefit from your property and possessions after your death. There are many good reasons to make a will:

  • you can decide how your assets are shared – if you don’t have a will, the law says who gets what and this may not necessary be what you want
  • if you’re an unmarried couple (whether or not it’s a same-sex relationship), you can make sure your partner is provide for. If you are an unmarried couple and do not make a will then the surviving one will not automatically inherit any assets on the death of the first one.
  • you can make sure you don’t pay more Inheritance Tax than necessary.

Preparing a will

Whether you require a straight forward a will or a complex document, we are able to assist you. We can also advise you as to whether your estate would have to pay any inheritance tax on your death and if you wish we can advise as to whether this tax can be minimized.


What should be included in your will

Before you write your will. it’s a good idea to think about what you want included in your will. You should consider:

  • how much money and what property and possessions you have
  • who you want to benefit from your will
  • who should look after any children under 18 years of age
  • who is going to sort out your estate and carry out your wishes after your death – that is your executor

An executor is the person responsible with passing on your estate. You can appoint an executor by naming them in your will.


Making your will

If you wish us to draft will for you then we will be pleased to assist. Straightforward wills are priced at £80 plus VAT for a single will or £150 plus VAT for a couple requiring mirror wills.

If you wish us to make a will for you then either contact us for a suitable appointment. Appointments are occasionally available on the same day. If you are unable to make it into any of our offices then we will be pleased to visit you at your home if this is more convenient.

If for any reason you or a loved one requires a will urgently then this is possible, we suggest that you contact us explaining the urgency and we will then ensure that we prepare your will and see you as quickly as possible.


Keeping your will safe

Once you’ve made your will, it is important to keep it in a safe place and tell your executor, close friend or relative where it is. If we make your will then as part of the service we are able to keep your will in our safe free of charge.


Updating your will

You should review your will every five years and after any major change in your life – such as getting separated, married or divorced, having a child or moving house. Any change must be by ‘codicil’ (an addition, amendment or supplement to a will) or by making a new will. If you have already made a will with us then the costs of amending your existing will will usually by a fixed price of £40 plus VAT.


Living wills

A living Will is a statement expressing your views on how you would or would not like to be treated if you are unable to make decisions about your medical treatment yourself at the relevant time in the future. We have prepared living wills for clients in the past and this is something which we are finding becoming increasingly popular. If you wish to discuss this further then please do not hesitate to contact us

Age concern have some useful information regarding this issue on their web site
http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/living-wills/


Power of attorney

General power of attorney

It is possible to prepare a document enabling another person to deal with your financial affairs. If you wish to appoint someone to deal with a specific matter or for a specific period for example if you are going on holiday and wish to give someone authority to make decisions regarding your home then a general power of attorney can be prepared to cover this situation. A General Power of Attorney can be prepared for around £50 plus VAT, please contact us for further details.

Please note that a General Power of Attorney will cease in the event of the person making the power losing capacity. If you wish the power of attorney to continue even if you do not have capacity then the Lasting Power of attorney described below is more suitable.


Lasting power of attorney

This is a real risk to us all that at some point in the future we will not be in a position to manage our financial affairs. It is however possible to ensure that in the event of you being unable to deal with your financial affairs that somebody you trust is appointed to deal with these mattes. It is possible to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to appoint someone committed to looking after your best interests.
An LPA is a legal document that enables someone to appoint one or more persons to manage their financial affairs either now or in the future. An LPA can be prepared in relation to your financial affairs and also in relation to your personal welfare / healthcare. Contact us for further details.