FAQs - Why make a Will? your questions answered
Why make a will? The short answer to the question is peace of mind. It's the only way you can be sure of leaving your affairs in good order, for those you care about.
In our series of FAQs we hope to answer some of the important questions, so let's be a bit more specific about the very good reasons for finally getting round to it.
What happens if I don't have a will?
If you don’t make a will, the intestacy rules mean that your hard-earned assets will not necessarily be passed on to the people you want to benefit. With a will, you have complete control over what happens to your wealth.
What about my children?
If you have young children, it’s essential to appoint guardians to look after them in the event of your death, and trustees to take care of their financial needs.
Won't my partner just inherit my property?
If you and your partner are not married, he or she will get nothing from your estate unless you have specifically written it into your will.
Does marital status affect things?
Have you got married or divorced since you made a will? If so, you’ll need advice on whether it is still valid. Remarriages can also complicate matters of inheritance and provision for children.
Can I save on my tax bill?
Even with recent changes in Inheritance Tax law, there may be large tax savings to be made by proper planning through your will and the use of trusts.
And for other such matters now. First is A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
You may have heard the term used before but what is it exactly? A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) enables someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so. And it's something that many people like to consider at the same time as making a will.
Signing an LPA allows you to decide who you would like to take on that responsibility for you and to include any particular wishes or conditions that you want to be taken into account.
Two types of LPA - one source of advice
You can sign a Property and Financial Affairs LPA (to cover financial decisions), a Health and Welfare LPA (to cover healthcare and personal welfare decisions), or both.
With a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, you can decide whether it comes into effect now - for example, if you need someone to take care of your financial affairs while you are travelling for an extended period -or only in certain circumstances - for example, if you become mentally incapable. A Health and Welfare LPA can only be used to take decisions for you when you lack mental capacity. In either case, the choice of your Attorneys is crucial and a good Wills advisor can help you on the qualities to look for in an Attorney.
Registering your LPA
An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) before your Attorney can act under it. Once it is registered, your Attorney can make decisions on your behalf within the restrictions of the LPA itself and subject to the statutory principles of the Mental Capacity Act.
If you become mentally incapable without having signed an LPA (or the old-style Enduring Power of Attorney), someone on your behalf would have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order. This is a more complex, and therefore more expensive procedure. Signing an LPA in advance of any mental incapacity is the preferred option, as you can express your own wishes as to how matters can be dealt with, should you lose mental capacity.
When you sign a will it will usually name Executors. These are the people who will be responsible for ensuring that the terms of the will are carried out. So deciding who the Executors should be is an important decision. Executors' responsibilities include collecting all assets after death, paying debts and inheritance tax, and distributing the estate to the people named in the Will i.e. your beneficiaries.
If the will does not name any Executors, or if you do not leave a will, then the law dictates that Administrators are responsible for the administration of the estate. The people who can act as Administrators are decided by law, depending on the proximity of their relationship to you. The administration of an estate can be simple or complex, depending on the size of the estate and whether or not it is subject to inheritance tax. It can become particularly complex if there is likely to be any kind of dispute.
So, we should probably explain what happens if you don't have a will in place, let's take a look at this flow chart -
We hope this information proves to be useful, do let us know if you would like help making arrangements to instruct a will, we'll, of course, be very happy to help.
Mon 09 Aug 2021