Two important documents everyone should have

Many of our clients have been in touch with us to ask us about making a Will and Powers of Attorney. The lockdown which we’re experiencing now is having a profound effect on people. Many of our clients are spending time either working from home, on furlough or practising social distancing. The vast majority who have been in touch are enquiring about a Will and Powers of Attorney.

Even In normal times, we believe every client should have a Will and a Power of Attorney and here’s why. If you don’t have a Will, you have no direct say in how your estate should be dealt with. If you don’t have a Power of Attorney and you can’t look after your own affairs, you don’t have any certainty about who looks after them.

Why is it important to have a Will?

The only way you can make sure your estate is dealt with in the way you want it to is by having a Will. If you haven’t made a Will, your loved ones will have to rely on the Law of Succession. That might not be suitable for you or, most importantly, those you leave behind.

Don’t assume everything will be all right. Everything depends on your circumstances and your relationships when you die. In these days of “modern” families, the range of relationships amongst couples and their children can be staggering!

If you’re married or in a civil partnership, your spouse or partner has a degree of automatic protection. A Spouse or partner is entitled to Prior Rights which gives them certain rights to your property after your death.

However, if you aren’t married or in a civil partnership, your partner has no protection or entitlement. That means your partner will have to apply to court to make a claim on any part of your estate. This situation can be exacerbated you’ve separated but haven’t yet been divorced, had your civil partnership dissolved or entered into a separation agreement regulating succession matters.

This means mean your legal spouse or partner and not the person you’re currently living with, would inherit your estate. If you find yourself in this position, please do something about it now!

In Scotland, you can’t disinherit your children – whether you have a Will or not. If you want to exclude your children from their Legal Rights to your estate, you will need advice and a Will to mitigate that entitlement.

These are only two of a very large number of reasons to make your Will.

Also, if you already have a Will but your circumstances have changed, you need to consider reviewing it.

To read more about making a Will, please click here.

Why is it important to have a Power of Attorney?

We all take our ability to deal with our day to day affairs for granted. Imagine, for a minute, that something happens that prevents you from doing that. What happens if you have an accident or get an illness and you can’t look after your own affairs?

Lots of people think that a Power of Attorney is something “old people” should have. Yes, we agree that that’s a sensible option – but simply “being old” isn’t the real qualification. “Waiting until you really need it” is like looking for insurance when your house is already on fire.

A Power of Attorney doesn’t change anything whilst you’re able to look after your own affairs. You can go about your day to day life making all your own financial and welfare decisions. But if something stops you doing that, when you have a Power of Attorney, you have someone you trust who can make the decisions you would have made yourself.

If you don’t have a Power of Attorney, the ramifications can be huge. For instance, it might result in a guardian having to be appointed. This can be expensive and time consuming. There’s also no guarantee that the guardian appointed is the person you’d prefer to make those important decisions for you.

We can help you make your Will and Power of Attorney, supply everything you need to know and answer your questions. If you’d like to know more about making a Power of Attorney, please click here.

These are two of the most important documents everyone should have. We would encourage all our clients, their family and friends to have these prepared.

If you would like further information or wish to make your Will and Power of Attorney, please get in touch today.