Why you should talk about your last wishes with your loved ones today

May 2023
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Two tasks that many people put off are writing their will and setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). While it’s easy to delay organising your affairs, doing so could leave you and your family in a difficult situation.

It may be uncomfortable to consider that there might come a time when you're unable to look after yourself. However, the scary fact is that if you lost the ability to make decisions for yourself, not even your spouse has the automatic right to make decisions on your behalf.

An LPA is easy to set up and could save a stack of stress and heartache

You may have read about TV presenter Kate Garraway’s experience in the news. When Garraway's husband, Derek Draper, fell ill during the first Covid lockdown in March 2020, the couple had discussed assigning one another the power of attorney but hadn’t yet acted on the decision.

Life was tough enough, but dealing with the many bills and policies that were all in her husband’s sole name made a terrible situation even more distressing.

In an interview with the Times, Garraway said her legal situation ended up “much more complicated” than it might have been had they had drawn up LPAs, which would have allowed her to assume control of their affairs.

With an LPA in place, your loved ones can step in and manage your affairs immediately

As Garraway discovered the hard way, even if you’re married or in a civil partnership, your spouse isn’t able to deal with your financial affairs or decide about your healthcare if you lose the ability to do so. 

In fact, without an LPA, they won’t even have authority over any bank accounts in your sole name.

This could leave your family with the difficult and time-consuming task of applying for permission to take care of your affairs. If you’re already incapacitated, they will have to apply to the Court of Protection to become a deputy. 

Apart from the stress this can cause at a highly emotional time, the process can also be time-consuming and expensive. It could take several months before a deputy is appointed, during which time your family would have no control over your finances.

Acting now could save you and your family a huge amount of trouble and stress.

Provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones by planning now

You can appoint attorneys to deal with your property and financial affairs and your health and welfare if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. 

There are two types of LPA:

  1.  A Health and Welfare LPA will cover your day-to-day life and any medical decisions or care you need.
  2. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA will cover the management of your savings and assets, paying bills, and claiming benefits.

LPAs are relatively easy to set up, but you can only do so while you have the mental capacity.

Organising an LPA now could mean that you’re more prepared. Should anything untoward happen, you and your family will have one less thing to worry about.

You can apply online or download the relevant forms from the government website. However, before you rush in, it’s wise to take professional advice from your solicitor or financial adviser. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your intentions before you sign on the dotted line.

Are you one of millions who hasn’t written a will?

Despite the importance of having a will, you may be surprised to hear that many in the UK are yet to write one.

In fact, according to Canada Life, 56% of British adults haven't written a will. This equates to a whopping 30 million people.

A valid will is an incredibly important part of your financial plan

Having a will in place can help ensure that should the worst happen your financial and personal assets will be distributed according to your wishes.

Having a valid will is even more crucial if you have dependants who rely on you financially, or if you wish to leave assets to those outside your immediate family. 

Even when you have a will in place, it's crucial to revisit it and ensure that it remains appropriate – especially when circumstances change. A will would need updating if you re-marry, for example, or if there is a death or birth in the family.

A powerful document, a will can not only help to avoid legal wrangles and confusion over who will benefit from your estate, but it can also help to reduce your Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability and give you and your family peace of mind.

Your will can help mitigate IHT

The total value of your estate will dictate the amount of IHT your next of kin will pay after you die.

The IHT threshold for 2023/24 is £325,000. You also have an additional £175,000 nil-rate band if you leave your home to a child or grandchild. Anything you leave above this value is typically subject to the standard IHT rate of 40%.

With a will, you can allocate certain assets to your beneficiaries to ensure your estate plan is as tax-efficient as possible.

Making a will and being prepared doesn’t mean you expect to die soon, it just means that you are prepared for the worst-case scenario. 

Talking about your wishes with your family and drawing up the legal paperwork will help to make life easier for your loved ones during an inevitably difficult time.

Write your will today

We offer an online Will Writing Service to all our clients. Powered by Gosschalks solicitors, we collect your details electronically. Your information is then passed to the specialist team at Gosschalks who will pick it up and look after you. They will provide you with all the advice and direction you need to make the entire process as easy and hassle-free as possible.

Get in touch

If you’d like to discuss LPAs or writing your will, please get in touch. We can discuss your will and your wishes and help to ensure you have peace of mind that your family and loved ones will be well looked after.

Email clientenquiries@lebc-group.com or call us on 0800 055 6585.

Please note
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of LEBC Group Ltd and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to any investment or retirement strategy. You should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.

The Financial conduct authority does not regulate taxation and trust advice, will writing and estate planning.

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