New Year, New You, New Resolutions… So why not protect your future today?

At the stoke of midnight on New Years Eve most of us would have had in mind what changes we would want to make to our lives, and what achievements we would want to accomplish over the coming 12 months. We’ve all been there…making promises which we know (deep down at least!) we are unlikely to keep. Protecting the future of yourself and your loved ones however, should be a promise you shouldn’t break.

Many of us do not wish to consider the inevitability of death and the effect that this will have upon those we leave behind. It has been suggested that 6 out of 10 adults in the UK do not have a Will*. If you don’t have a Will, the simple reality is that you cannot direct to whom you would wish your estate to pass to. This can have a devastating effect on the remaining family and friends, both emotionally and financially.

Under the rules of intestacy (where a person dies without leaving a Will), there is a financial limit as to how much any surviving spouse or civil partner will inherit. The remaining estate may end up being shared by those the deceased wouldn’t necessarily wish to see inherit. In certain unfortunate cases where a person dies intestate their estate has been known to pass in its entirety to the Crown, as friends and cohabitees are currently not taken into consideration under the rules of intestacy.

Where a person already has a Will in place, all too often with the passage of time this document will fall out of line with their current wishes. Wills should be reviewed and brought up-to-date at least every 3-5 years, rather than sit gathering dust. Where Wills have not been properly drafted, such as through the use of incorrect wording, by the fact that they have not been signed and witnessed correctly or where they have not taken into account a persons specific circumstances, the Wills themselves can be invalid which can cause drastic and long-lasting detrimental effects on the persons estate.

The specialist Wills, Trusts & Probate team at Prince Evans Solicitors ensures that any Will drafted is always tailored to a persons specific requirements, no matter how complicated their affairs may be. It is important to speak with a regulated, insurance-backed legal expert who can advise you in relation to both your current situation and any future concerns you may have.

Lasting Powers of Attorney
We never know what is around the corner and it is always important to prepare for the unknown, no matter what age you are.  One way of protecting your future is ensuring that you have Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) in place. An LPA should be thought of as an insurance policy in the hope that you never have to use it, but in the unfortunate case where you do, you’re covered. When viewed in this manner it is an extremely important and useful legal document to have.

LPA’s allow you to appoint someone that you trust to help look after your affairs when you are unable to do so. This may arise by reason of an accident, ill health or the onset of old age causing a person to loose their mental or physical capacity.

Although LPA’s are mainly associated with dementia and later life, they can also be of benefit if you have financial responsibilities that you wish to delegate to your attorneys. For example, if you are involved in a car accident and are admitted to hospital for several weeks, or if you go aboard for long periods of time. In these circumstances using an LPA you can appoint your attorneys to look after your affairs, such as paying household bills and looking after your financial investments, whilst you are unable to do so.

If you don’t have a LPA, your family or friends will not be able to deal with your affairs without making an expensive and time consuming application to the Court of Protection for an order known as a Deputyship Order.

In order to encourage more people to protect their future and to motivate them to draw up LPA’s, the Office of the Public Guardian have reduced their registration fee to £110 as of 1 October 2013, so there hasn’t been a better time to put one in place. Talk to one of our specialist Court of Protection solicitors at Prince Evans Solicitors today who will be able to assist you further.

At Prince Evans Solicitors, we can help you keep your New Years resolutions this year and provide protection and peace of mind for you and your loved ones future.

Ben Davies
Associate & Head of Wills, Trusts & Probate Team
Prince Evans Solicitors LLP

*The Guardian Newspaper Website – 15th Feb 2013.