The importance of Wills and Estate Planning
As a business we are constantly seeking ways in which we can add value and enhance the services we provide for our clients. Part of our ongoing service is to establish if you have Wills and if so, are they up to date. We have noticed that many of our clients either have old Wills that have not been reviewed, or indeed do not have a Will at all.
We feel it is our job to highlight the potential pitfalls of not keeping your Will up to date and provide you with a solution.
Why this may be an issue for you.
An up to date Will ensures that when you die your assets are used for the benefit of those you wish to provide for and are dealt with by someone you have chosen. This means your wishes are respected and your loved ones are better served at a time when they are also grieving.
What happens if you have an old Will?
Providing for the people you wish to benefit from your assets may not always happen if you have an old Will. This is especially true if there have been any changes to your family circumstances, such as marriage, divorce, birth or bereavement.
What happens if you do not have a Will at all?
If you do not have a Will at all, your assets will be dealt with under the Intestacy Rules. The Intestacy Rules have a prescribed formula that dictate how your assets are distributed. This may mean that your wishes are not respected and those who you want to provide for may not receive what you would want them to. In some cases, the people you wish to provide for may receive absolutely nothing.
Also, what happens if you are unable to make decisions because of illness or injury?
Being unable to make decisions because of illness or injury can happen at any age and does not just relate to older clients. This can be addressed by a Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a document that gives authority to someone you know and trust to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one relating to property and financial assets and one relating to health and care decisions.
What happens if you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney and cannot make decisions yourself?
Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, decisions will have to be made for you by the Court of Protection based in London. The Court will endeavour to make decisions in your best interests but will have no personal knowledge of you or your wishes, they can also be extremely slow to make decisions. For pure practicality, the Court of Protection can never make decisions as quickly, or with the same knowledge of you and your wishes, as someone you know and trust.
If yourself or a loved one become mentally incapacitated and cannot make financial decisions for themselves you can apply to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy. This can be a costly and time consuming process and can be avoided by having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place.
How can all these problems be addressed?
Kent Carlyle does not write Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney but there is a significant need to remind our clients of the importance of these areas. Where appropriate, we refer these cases to Paige George of Cozens-Hardy LLP Solicitors.
Who are Cozens-Hardy LLP Solicitors?
Cozens-Hardy are a long-established firm of Norwich solicitors who provide a wide range of legal services to private individuals and businesses.
Paige specialises in Wills, Trusts and Probate giving practical advice to individuals and families looking to protect their loved ones and their assets, in the event of death or mental incapacity at any time of life. Paige is an Affiliate STEP member (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and is working towards achieving full TEP status, which is the only widely recognised mark for professionals in the trust and estate administration industry. Paige is also a Fellow of the Institute of Paralegals.
What to do next?
If you would like to review this area, please contact us at Kent Carlyle Wealth Management and we can arrange for Paige at Cozens-Hardy to discuss your requirements and how she may be able to help you.
If you wish to contact Paige directly please do so on 01603 724631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should you have any wider financial or estate planning needs or questions, again, please do not hesitate to contact us.