We know that contacting a Solicitor about having a will is not an impulse buy.
If we asked you for a list of the things that you need as a Key Worker you might come up with a list like this: Hand sanitiser, facemask, bottled water, antiseptic wipes, baked beans, chocolate and loo roll. You wouldn't include a will, or would you?
Dying is not something most of us want to think about, but the COVID-19 virus is making us have to. As a result, planning ahead and writing a will could prove to be one of the most important things you ever do.
Do I need a will?
Probably, yes. You might think that wills are only necessary for wealthy people but if you own a property, are living with someone, are married or divorced or have children, writing a will to make sure that it is clear what happens to your assets and that arrangements are made for your family is vital.
Without a will, you will die “intestate”, which could leave your affairs in limbo for years.
Officially called your Last Will and Testament, your will lets you decide what happens to your money, property and possessions after you pass away. You list what you have in your estate (ie what belongs to you) and then decide how your estate is to be shared.
A will includes:
- Who you want to benefit from your will (the beneficiaries)
- Who should look after any children under 18
- Who is going to sort out your Estate and carry out your wishes listed in your will after you die (your Executor)
- What happens if the people you want to benefit die before you
- Any other wishes you may have, for example, what happens to your pets or whether you want to be buried or cremated
Getting the right will for your needs is very important. Lots of advice websites will tell you that most people write a will with the help of a solicitor. Our solicitors are happy to talk to you by phone or video link to find out what your needs are and give you advice on the type of will that you need.
Not everyone needs a complicated will, but you do need the right will for your circumstances.
What is a Lasting Power Of Attorney, and why might I need one?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. If you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions, the LPA gives the people you trust more control over what happens to you.
You must be 18 or over and have the ability to make your own decisions when you make your LPA.
There are 2 types of LPA:
1. Financial Decisions
2. Health and Care Decisions
You can choose to make one type or both.
The Financial Decisions LPA
You can use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example:
- Managing a bank or building society account
- Paying bills
- Collecting benefits or a pension
- Selling your home
It can be used as soon as it is registered, with your permission.
The Health and Care Decisions LPA
You can use this LPA to give an attorney the power to make decisions about things like:
- Your daily routine, for example, washing, dressing, eating
- Medical care
- Moving into a care home
- Life-sustaining treatment
It can only be used when you’re unable to make your own decisions.
You can talk to one of our solicitors about whether you might need an LPA and they can talk you through the reasons why having one may be the right option for you and your family.