How We Can Help You and Your Family
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But the law may be against you in many ways. Joint finances are not so ‘equal’ in the event of one of the ‘partners’ passing and many have found that at such difficult times they are often left without funds due to the way the current laws work. Take no chances talk to Montgomery Paul today about protecting your family, your future and your loved ones. Please do not leave anything to chance take a look through our comprehensive list of products designed to help you and your family with financial planning.
Last Will & Testament
Many of us aren't very good at talking about death, so it's not surprising that over 70% of us risk leaving our nearest and dearest with a lot of hassle and confusion by not making a Will. Most of us, at some time in our lives considers putting their affairs in order, but we never quite manage it and no further action is taken. There are of course the normal excuses of 'we're too busy', or 'I don't plan on dying just yet!'But many people put off making a Will simply because they are aware of the severe consequences to their family if anything was to happen to them. They just assumed that everything would be OK. However, if you care about your family, and care about who inherits your estate, and you do want everything to be 'OK', then you need an up to date professionally drafted Will - NOW!
Laws of Intestacy
If you die without a Will, then the Government will decide who will inherit your estate in accordance with the Laws of Intestacy. These laws state that your spouse may end up sharing your estate with your children or parents, or if you are an unmarried couple, then your partner may not get anything. Without knowing who you want as guardians, the authorities will decide who is best placed to look after your young children, which may be hugely upsetting and disruptive. It can also mean that your partner (if you are not married) does not automatically become guardian of young children, even though they may be the father. Horror of horrors! Die without a Will and your ex-spouse, may be entitled to claim part, or all of your estate in certain circumstances! Even if your ex-spouse cannot make a claim, your children's trust fund may fall under their control!
The Point of a Will
Making a Will is about ensuring that what you have, goes where you want to, and looking after the people you care most about. A Will only gives away what has not been taken from you, or what you have not spent. The actual Will process need not turn out to be as upsetting and difficult as you might think. In fact, having made a Will gives you a feeling that you have done the right thing, and gain provide a certain satisfaction that only comes from the knowledge that you have tied up all those loose ends. But making sure that you have a Will is not enough; it has to be the right type of Will - one that is professionally drafted to take into account your wishes, and your personal and financial circumstances, and will make things as easy as possible for your executors. With the right Will you can:
•Specify whom you wish to inherit your estate, in what order and in what proportions.
•Make specific gifts to family, friends or even to your favourite charities.•Appoint suitable guardians for young children.
•Arrange maintenance trusts for children, to protect their inheritance until an age specified by you.
•Ensure the inheritance of your children or other beneficiaries should the survivor re-marry.
•Help reduce Inheritance Tax, and can even help to reduce the effects of nursing care fees
Amending an Existing Will - If you already have a Will, it is recommended that you review it every few years. Sometimes your wishes may not have changed, but the value of your assets and the law may have. As such it is very important to ensure that your Will does exactly what you want it to do and that it protects your assets and investments. It may also be that you wish to change your choice of executors, or that your existing Will does not provide a "fall back" situation should beneficiaries predecease you
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
Other than a Will, the LPA (property) is singularly the most important document that every adult ought to have. Without it, if incapacity strikes you down, your family will have to dealing with the Court of Protection. A body which has been called evil by many people for how it's decisions destroy families all under the guise of the Mental Health Act. The expense alone of dealing with the Court of Protection makes the cost of setting up a LPA positively minuscule in comparison. Via an LPA (property) people can nominate someone they trust to make decisions for them, about their property and financial affairs, and with a LPA (personal welfare) even medical and health matters, at a time in the future when they might not have the capacity to make them for themselves. For example due to the onset of dementia, a stroke, accident or simply old age. But to make such an arrangement the donor needs to have the capacity to understand now, as later may be too late, forcing family to make an expensive and complicated application to the Court of Protection. However the donor may include a restriction that the LPA (property) can only be used at a time in the future when they lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves. The LPA (personal) can only be used once the donor has lost capacity. But in some cases it may be easier for them to give someone the power of a LPA (property) now, to carry out tasks such as paying their bills or collecting their benefits or other income. This might be useful for lots of reasons i.e. the Donor might find it difficult to get about, or to talk on the telephone, or might be out of the country for long periods of time, or they may just feel no longer able to cope with modern life. So although the main purpose of an LPA is to give voice to the "incapacitated", it can be extremely useful at other times as well. The amount of interest in the LPA (personal) has surprised us all. However research seems to suggest that the answer lies with the fact that many people, especially those of mature years, have become disenchanted with medical decision making, and the quality of treatment being given. Whilst many also want to avoid being kept alive artificially, when there is no real hope of a proper recovery, and they are left being an emotional burden upon their families.
Put simply, more and more people are now looking to effect some element of control over their lives, via someone they trust, at a time when they are unable to communicate their own wishes. Before the existence of such instruments, if we became incapacitated we were largely at the mercy of the state and of institutions. With the creation of the LPA this no longer has to be the case, provided we act early enough. Montgomery Paul are particularly proud of the unique low cost LPA service we have created specially for the pensioners in our communities. Contact us and we will send you a free LPA information pack that will help make a complicated subject so much easier to understand
An alternative to a LPA (personal) Why would you want to consider an alternative to the LPA (personal)? Two possible reasons:1.You feel that asking someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf, is asking too much and is unfair.2.Or, it might be cost. The LPA costs more, and might also involve yet another £110 registration fee. So what exactly is a Living Will? It's technical name is an Advanced Directive (AD), because you are making your wishes (directives) known in advance. Every competent individual has a right to refuse treatment or to state circumstances in which they would not wish treatment to be offered to them. It is recognised that such wishes can be formally recorded in an Advanced Directive ("the Directive"). This is a document where your refusal of certain specific treatments or circumstances in which you would not want treatment to be offered are set out. It is also worth noting that Living Wills are now recognised in Law, and as such are binding upon the medical profession, where previously they were not. Two Things to Remember:
•The Advance Directive is effectively "tablets of stone", and after you have "lost capacity", cannot be undone! On the other hand, if you had chosen a LPA (personal) your attorney can at least talk to your medical team, when they might arrive at a decision you would have been happy with.
•Under a LPA, the doctors can still over rule the attorney(s)In other words neither is a perfect answer, and you must make your choice, now, based on your best instincts, and good advice from family and friends.
If you can avoid it, do not make the choice on cost alone, but rather on your instincts of what feels right and best for you