Why Having A Will In Place Can Help Protect You And Your Family
Lamp supporters and business club members Dodds Solicitors LLP are pleased to announce the arrival of a new team member, Claire Brown, an experienced Wills and Probate solicitor, who will be heading up this team.
Claire is pleased to be working alongside LAMP (Leicestershire Action for Mental Health Project) in the coming months.
Claire is very aware that whilst people often do not want to consider what might happen once they have passed away, that it is very important for everyone to consider making a Will so that they can provide some certainty as to what will happen to their property after their death.
It is particularly important as in so many families nowadays there are stepchildren and stepparent relationships and partners who are cohabiting. If you do not specify a gift to a stepchild or leave your assets to your partner, you may find that the intestacy rules apply and your estate might go to more distant relatives rather than the people who you live with who you would feel are your immediate family.
There is a misconception that if you have lived with your partner for a certain amount of time, then on the death of them, the house and other belongings would pass to you. This is unfortunately not true and there are no such laws in place to protect a couple who are not married but live together as cohabitees.
The simple way to avoid any problems in the event of a death, is for both parties to put in place their wills as early as they can. They can both set out exactly what they would like to happen when they pass away avoiding any unnecessary problems and stress for their families they leave behind.
A Will therefore is a vitally important document which we would advise everyone to put in place during their lifetime. This will cover all of your affairs when you are no longer here. However, your Will only takes effect on your death.
During your lifetime, a Will does not work and that is where a Lasting Power of Attorney will help. These documents are for use during your lifetime should you ever become unwell whether that be physically or mentally. They enable you to choose someone else, perhaps a family member, to deal with your money, property and also health and welfare decisions if you wish, if you do not have capacity to make those decisions yourself.
It could be particularly useful for someone who may have mental health difficulties to have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place so that their loved ones can assist them if they are suddenly incapable of dealing with their own affairs.
Again there is a misconception that if you were to become unwell then your next of kin i.e. spouse, child, parent etc. would be able to take on your affairs and help you to manage them. This is unfortunately untrue. Financial bodies should not deal with anyone other than you unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place. The same goes for health, welfare and medical decisions. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place your family are unlikely to be able to help you.
Our best advice therefore is to ensure that you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place for protection during your lifetime and a Will in place for protection once you have passed away. Both of these documents will also ensure that everything is easy for you and your family and that there is no unnecessary stress at what will most likely be a very difficult time.
Visit the Leicestershire Action for Mental Health Project’s website here – https://www.lampadvocacy.co.uk/