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Solicitors in Westminster, London

WILLS AND LPAs - Covid 19

WILLS AND LPAs - Covid 19

In the current circumstances we must all consider our personal and financial wellbeing. The pandemic has taught us a lot about how we look after ourselves and the people around us.  There are simple, practical things we can do to help offer peace of mind both to ourselves and our loved ones that if we were to suffer an illness or, in the worst scenario, death then we would know who would look after our affairs.

There are several common misconceptions when it comes to wills and it's important that to have your will drafted by a professional who can advise you on the terms and make sure your wishes are carried out. They can also advise you on any potential pitfalls, such as excluding a child as a beneficiary or not making adequate provision for your spouse, and make sure your will is executed correctly. They can also advise on any potential inheritance tax liability that your estate may suffer and offer solutions as to how to mitigate the tax liability.

When considering the terms of your will you will be asked to consider the appointment of executors, the appointment of legal guardian for minor children if needed, funeral directions, specific gifts, cash legacies, and the distribution of the remainder of your estate. You will need to have an understanding as to what your estate consists of, and the value, and who the beneficiaries of your estate could be as against how you want your estate to be distributed.  It is important to note that it is your executors who are legally responsible for carrying out the terms of your will, so you should consider very carefully who you want to appoint.

Becoming mentally incapacitated is another issue, and it is important to put the necessary protection in place so that if you aren't able to make decisions about your financial affairs and health and welfare you choose who would make those decisions on your behalf. You can do this by having lasting powers of attorney prepared. There are two type of lasting power of attorney; one for property and financial affairs and one for health and welfare. For property and financial affairs you can appoint an attorney or attorneys to make decisions on your behalf. If you give them authority then they can make decisions as soon as the lasting power of attorney has been registered even if you still have capacity to make decisions for yourself. This could be useful if you are considered vulnerable and self-isolating. For health and welfare your attorney(s) can only make decisions on your behalf if you lack capacity to make these decisions yourself. Without lasting powers of attorney in place no one can make decisions on your behalf without the authority of the Court of Protection. Getting authority from the Court of Protection for decision making powers can take a long time and be expensive. Having registered lasting powers of attorney in place means you know who will be making decisions on your behalf if you ever need them to in, what is currently, a future full of uncertainty for all of us.

The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice and are provided for general information purposes only. The contents are copyright of Lee Bolton Monier-Williams LLP. All rights reserved.