Wills and Estate Planning

Unless we leave a Will our wishes for the distribution of our estate may not be complied with. Additionally there may be disadvantageous tax consequences for your family.

Whilst there have been recent legislative changes so that your estate may pass to your civil partner, if you are unmarried or have not registered your relation ship, your partner may not inherit any of your estate. We are happy to guide you through the process of tax planning and making a Will to suit your needs.

Our friendly professionals can advise on Inheritance Tax planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney and applications to the Court of Protection together with the administration of estates and contentious claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

With an ever – increasingly aging population, more and more people will reach a stage when their physical and mental health may begin to let them down.

No- one likes to think that this will happen to them, and if it does, they assume that their spouses or children will be able to “step into their shoes” and take over dealing with their property and financial affairs and their welfare. This is not necessarily the case, if they have not made Lasting Powers of Attorney (“LPA”). There are 2 types – one to deal with your Property and Financial Affairs and one to deal with your Personal Welfare.

General Power of Attorney

Many people think that if they have already given their spouse or children a general power of attorney to deal with their affairs then they are covered even if they lose mental capacity. However, should the donor, (the person making the power of attorney), lose mental capacity, the general power of attorney will no longer be effective. The advantage of a LPA is that it continues to have effect even when the donor has lost mental capacity.

What if you don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney and you lose mental capacity?

Unless you have made Lasting Powers of Attorney which have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, your relatives, or, (if you don’t have any relatives you wish to appoint), your friends or professional advisors, will need to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as Deputies, (the Court’s version of Attorneys). This is a very costly exercise and more importantly may take several months to process at a time when you may need immediate care. Also, you lose the ability to control the situation as the Court will use its discretion to appoint who they consider is most suitable for the job. If there is no-one suitable then the Court may appoint a solicitor from their own panel.

Once a Deputy is appointed, the Court will then decide what level of supervision is required for that particular person. This could result in the Court’s authority being required every time the donor needs a new toothbrush!

With a LPA

By making Lasting Powers of Attorney and applying for registration whilst you still retain all your faculties, you have control over who you wish to appoint to be your attorney. Our dedicated and friendly team will help guide you through the paperwork and formalities involved in preparing and registering the documents with the Office of the Public Guardian. Once the registration has been completed, you and your family will have peace of mind that, should the time come when you cannot make decisions for yourself, someone you know and trust will be making them for you.