January – New You, New Will

It is getting colder now, and next week it’s December! This results in the annual panic of Christmas shopping, and working out whose coming to Christmas Lunch.

Whilst I don’t usually advocate people putting matters off. I suggest that now is the time to think about Christmas. January however is the start of a new year, the perfect time to get organised and take on those things that have been on the back burner for so long. (Nobody really wants to think about their mortality and put a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney in place!)

So whilst I would wish you a great Christmas. January can be the start not just of the New Year, but the time when you deal with all the things that you have been putting off!

Revising your Will: Have you been putting it off?

Whilst you may have had some time off, now it’s time to sort things out at work and think of plans of what you will be doing for the next few weeks.

I always say if you are sorting things out at work, you should also sort things out in your personal life too! Lets’ be positive and do all the things you have been putting off! In sorting in out matters why not consider my list below?

• Have you sorted out your Will?
• If you did your Will a long time ago do you know what it means?
• When is the last time you had a look at your Will?

If your Will was done years ago and a copy is languishing in a dusty draw may I suggest the following: That you take it out of the draw and take a look at it!!

If you find out that your Will:
a) Refers to people who have died
b) Mentions your ex-husband/wife
c) Appoints Guardians for your children who are now teenagers
d) Appoints Executors you have not seen in years

Its time you did a new Will! If your life has really changed completely since you did your Will, it may even be invalid without you knowing it!

Call me on 01483 564833 to discuss how easy and pain free doing a new up to date Will can be!

Second Marriages and Powers of Attorney

I have many clients who are marrying for a second or even a third time. In such cases often both parties have their own separate assets which due to their family’s situation will stay separate.

Whilst many clients do put in place Wills to protect their children from the first marriage, and through Trust arrangements protect children from both their marriages. Often they don’t put in place Lasting Powers of Attorney to assist their families with dealing with their assets whilst they are alive!

I often say to clients that Wills are for when we die, but Lasting Powers of Attorney are “during life” documents.

In many cases a person will have their own assets, in their own name. If that person is ever incapacitated during their lifetime…. the only person who is legally allowed to deal with those assets is an Attorney. Or in the worse case a Court appointed Deputy.

If this situation describes you, please call me to discuss how Lasting Powers of Attorney could be the solution!

Holidays – a great time to think!

Going on holiday is great (barring the stress of getting to and from your destination), and holidays are sometimes the only time you have to think about things.

With that in mind please consider what would happen if something happened to you! Is everything organised so your spouse and children are cared for the way you would want?

If the answer is NO to this question, call me to discuss how everything can be put into place to give you and your family the Peace of Mind you would want!

Whether you have thought about getting your arrangements in order before you fly off into the sun, or during your annual holiday. Please give me a call so that we can start the process of ensuring that you have that Peace of Mind you crave.

Enduring Powers of Attorney

It is important for everyone to know that Enduring Powers of Attorney are still VALID!

Although you cannot put an Enduring Power of Attorney in place now (since the law changed in 2005). This does NOT stop attorneys and donors from using these documents! Please note that the rules relating to Enduring Powers of Attorney are different from those for Lasting Powers of Attorney (the new documents).

If you or a family member has an Enduring Power of Attorney its essential that you understand how you can use this/ and how you cannot. In some cases the document has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

If you are unsure how you should use an Enduring Power of Attorney just give me a call.

Being Insured

Not only do I give my clients Peace of Mind when they put in place documents to protect their family. I also pride myself on having Professional Indemnity Insurance with one of the best providers there is.

The reason that I am blogging today on what some may call a very boring subject is that a client of mine recently asked if I was insured. My client was concerned to ensure that I am fully insured, should something go wrong. I could of course reassure my client that all was in order.

With so many cowboys out there, it pays to ask and I am pleased that my client did! I am also a member of various professional bodies, which I believe is also essential.

Why do I need to make a Will? My family will get it anyway!

Many people say this to me, why should I make a Will? It will all go to my family anyway! This statement confirms the complete misunderstanding of many members of the public.

On death if there is no Will in place a person’s Estate will NOT NECESSARILY go to their family. If there is NO WILL an Estate will devolve in accordance with the Intestacy Rules.

Examples of situations of how the Intestacy Rules work include:
Even if part way through a divorce your soon to be exspouse could inherit!
If married with children your Estate will NOT go absolutely to your spouse!
Your Estate could go to family members you have not seen in years!
If unmarried your partner will have to make a claim against your Estate under the Inheritance Provision for Family & Dependents Act 1975!

To avoid all these and many more problems, the simple answer is to MAKE A WILL. In a validly drawn Will you can ensure:
Your wife/partner is protected!
Your children (even if not from your current relationship) are protected!
Your Estate will go to who you want it to go to!

Contact us to arrange an appointment when we can take your instructions and put in place a Will that will give you Peace of Mind and protect your family.

The Holidays are over!

Now the Summer holidays are nearly over and it’s back to work and school for many. It is the time when new school uniforms are being bought, you are thinking of that new project at work.

As this time of year everyone is more business minded I think everyone should ask themselves the following questions:

Have I got my Will up to date? (Although with 60% of the population the question will be: It’s about time I put a Will in place!)

Have I got everything organised so that if anything happened to me my wife/husband is protected?

As I have assets in my sole name, should I put in place a Power of Attorney so that my wife/husband can deal with my affairs if necessary?

ALL of these questions have a solution, so ask yourself the question: WHY AM I NOT DOING IT!!

If you want to ensure that your family is protected now and into the future give me a call now. Don’t leave it too late and have your family ask WHY DID MY PARENTS NOT SORT THIS OUT!

Variations Guidance 2 – Who can vary an Estate?

As the second in my series about Instruments of Variation, I thought that you should know who can actually put in place a Variation.
The idea of varying a Will is to change the situation, which (usually due to an out of date Will, or even no Will at all) is not appropriate.

So the big question is – who can vary an Estate?

When an Estate is varied it is best for the following people to execute the document:
• Executors
• Trustees (when either taking out or putting in place Trusts)
• All residuary beneficiaries who are accepting the changes
• An individual who is giving up his/her entitlement
• All those who would have received assets under an Intestacy

The reasons are:
• Executors – must know if assets have now been re-directed
• Trustees – must be aware of the changes and what their role will now be
• Beneficiaries – must agree if they are giving up part of their entitlement
• Individuals – must always sign if giving up all/part of their entitlement
• Intestacy – when varying an Intestate Estate everyone who would have received assets under the rules must agree to the variation

These are just some of the situations where particular people must sign the Variation document. Each case is different! If you need further advice call me for an informal chat.

Variation of Estates : Guidance Series 1

How you can vary an Estate

Many of my clients don’t realise that who gets the assets when a death occurs, CAN be changed post death.

In many cases when a person dies their Will may be out of date meaning that:
• The final intentions of the deceased are not included
• Someone is left out
• Assets go to people who don’t want them
• The way the Estate devolves is not appropriate

Examples of this are:
• The deceased had been meaning to update their Will, but didn’t
• More grandchildren have been born
• Adult children have their own Inheritance Tax problems
• Setting up only a relatively small amount into a Trust is not tax efficient

Matters can be changed to suit you and your family, so long as:
• Any changes are within 2 years of date of death
• The correct tax elections are made
• The necessary people agree to the Variation

If you need further advice about how a Variation could be the solution to an out of date Will, call me for an informal chat.