Ellen Eley

+44 (0)1223 785288 eleley@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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Get Your Affairs in Order this New Years

Wealth Preservation / 07 January 2022

Why not make it your New Year’s Resolution to get your affairs in order, giving you and your loved ones peace of mind for 2022 and the future?

I’ll do it tomorrow…

The importance of making a Will and keeping it up to date is often underappreciated and you shouldn’t put it off any longer. While many people think that they have few assets to leave behind and therefore don’t require a Will, a Will can also offer the opportunity to express your wishes in relation to matters that aren’t purely financial, such as funeral wishes, guardianship of minor children and gifting of items of sentimental value.  People also often underestimate the size of their estate, failing to take into account life insurance policies or dormant accounts that they have long forgotten about.

There are currently roughly 7000 unclaimed estates in England and Wales and millions of pounds worth of unclaimed inheritance. Many people either misunderstand, or simply haven’t given thought to, what will happen to their estate if they die without a Will.  By making or reviewing your Will, you can ensure that your chosen beneficiaries receive the assets you worked hard for. Wills also present a unique opportunity to leave a lasting message to those nearest and dearest.

We recommend that you review your Will every three to five years – a lot can happen to your family dynamic and your assets in that time.  Whilst there are likely to be times in your life when your family and financial circumstances remain constant, there are various triggers when it is important to review your Will: birth or death of family or loved ones, marriages or divorce, and lifestyle changes such as retirement, to name just a few.

 

I don’t need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA); I can still make my own decisions.

Making an LPA does not mean that you immediately lose your independence; it is an  invaluable document that allows you to choose those you trust to manage your personal and financial affairs, should you become unable to.  Loss of mental capacity can happen unexpectedly. It is, therefore, essential that LPAs are prepared while you can, as waiting until it is too late may mean you lose the option to prepare one. This unfortunately can then place a stressful burden on your loved ones to arrange for complex and costly court applications to manage your affairs on your behalf. It could also mean that someone who you wouldn’t have chosen to assist you, could make the application.

People often incorrectly assume that LPAs are only relevant for those with diseases such as Dementia, or something to put in place in later life.  There are, however, many circumstances in which an LPA may be useful.  These include temporary loss of mental capacity through illness, for instance in the event of a coma or a stroke, or if you are physically unavailable or unable to sign paperwork, for example if an urgent decision is required in your absence. A professionally drafted LPA can deal with a variety of situations to allow your chosen people to manage your personal and financial affairs efficiently.

Regardless of what 2022 brings, your Will and LPA should be near the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions. Please contact a member of the team on 0203 691 2080 for assistance.

 

 

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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email: mailinglists@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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