Lasting Powers of Attorney
The arrangement that we all need to make, but most of us never do is called the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). There are two separate LPA’s – one for money (Property and Financial Affairs), one for health (Health and Welfare).
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA includes powers to deal with your money and your property. So your attorneys can, for example, operate your bank account, sort out your tax and decide what to do with your home. You can, however, impose restrictions: e.g., you could prevent them selling a second home which you had left in your will
to a relative.
A Health and Welfare LPA covers health and personal matters and can only be used once you have lost the capacity to make a particular decision yourself. You must make clear if you want your attorneys to be able to make life-or-death decisions about your medical care. However, you may set limits. For example, you may state that you should only be treated in accordance with your religious beliefs, or you may not want artificial life-sustaining treatment beyond a certain point. Health and Welfare LPA’s are like “living wills” but have the force of law and cannot normally be overridden by attorneys, relatives or doctors.
The Health and Welfare LPA can also include your day-to-day care, covering such issues as diet, social activities and routine medical matters such as optical treatment.
You can appoint one or more attorneys and decide whether they are to work only jointly, or jointly and individually – the option that offers the most flexibility.
Your LPA forms one of the cornerstones of your succession planning together with your Will, if you are interested in finding out more please call us.
While it may seem quite morbid to plan your funeral in advance, you will have the comfort of knowing that you will get exactly what you want. A prepaid funeral plan, will give you the ability to decide every detail of your funeral service.
Choose the type and style of service you want, and how much you want to spend
Whether burial or cremation
Your preferred cemetery or crematorium
Special features such as flowers, press notices, music etc
Donations to charity instead of flowers
You may be able to maximise your pensions entitlements as current ruling allows money paid into a plan to be exempt from inclusions in means tests.
You will save your family from having to make difficult decisions at an emotional time.
By fixing your costs at today’s prices, you save your family from financial burden later on. Funeral expenses continue to rise as the years go by, over and above the normal level of inflation and this theme is predicted to continue. Paying for your funeral in advance, your family will not be subject to these rising costs.
Most people don’t want to think past a time when they are healthy and enjoying life. But planning ahead for all possibilities ensures that both you and your loved ones are protected. Pre-planning a funeral is just as easy as any other financial arrangement, such as life insurance.
Your loved ones will be protected emotionally as well as financially, and you will have the peace of mind knowing your affairs are in order.
Three Shires Wills are agents for Safe Hands Funeral Plans who provide a Guaranteed Funeral Plan.
Whilst it may be something you don’t really want to think about, especially if you are in good health, this is exactly the time when you really should consider taking action. The facts about long term care make sombre reading:
Currently about 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men go into some sort of care. Statistically there is a greater than 50% probability that, for a couple, at least one party will become in need of care.
With an ageing population these figures are likely to rise in the future.
Average Care Home fees range from £25,000 to £50,000 per year.
70,000 people were forced to sell their homes in 2007 to pay for care costs.
Currently to have your care fees fully paid by the state you must have assets below £14,250 (this assessment includes the value of your house).
Five ‘solutions’ to the problem
1. Do nothing and hope you never need Long Term care,
2. Give assets to other family members, lose control and hope they don’t divorce, fall out or go bankrupt,
3. Wait until care is needed and buy an Immediate Care Plan (an expensive option),
4. Use a Flexible Lifetime Interest Trust in your Will and protect half of your assets (available only to couples)
5. Set up a Home Protection Plan and protect your home.
Home Protection Plan
Consider the Trust as a safety deposit box in which you place your home. Your trustees hold the keys, though they only take instruction from you, the settlor. You remain in control of your house with no-one else able to access the deposit box without your permission, not even the Local Authority. In fact as far as they are concerned you no longer own your home.
As settlor you will continue to occupy the property. If you wish to move house you simply sell in the normal way by directing the trustees in the sale and then again with the purchase of the new property.
After your death the house held within the trust can be passed directly to your beneficiaries or sold and the proceeds paid in accordance with your Will without the need to wait for Probate.
Summary of Trust Benefits
Probate for your house will not be needed, which could save thousands of pounds in probate fees,
Property can be passed on after your death a lot quicker,
Expert solicitors on hand to fight your corner if the local authority decides to challenge the trust,
Protect your joint assets from the survivor remarrying,
Additional protection if you become incapacitated,
Protection from leaving your home to unreliable children,
Avoid losing your home to pay for Care Fee charges.
Over a period of time your Will could get lost or inadvertently destroyed, in fact it’s estimated that over a third of Wills never come to light. Copy Wills are not valid, so it would then be as if you’d never made a Will (called dying intestate).
Interested parties could get hold of your Will and possibly destroy it, if they thought they would gain more from you dying intestate.
If left with a Solicitor, what would happen if they stopped trading or changed hands or moved? How would your executors know where it is lodged?
Your Executors need quick and easy access to your Will, without unnecessary delays, at what can be a difficult and uncertain time.
A simple solution
We strongly recommend you utilise the storage solution offered by Three Shires Wills and administered by The Society of Will Writers (SWW). The benefits are as follows:-
The SWW national document storage facility is an independent service, provided to give members of the SWW a safe, secure option for the storage of their clients Wills and other important documents.
The SWW is independent of both individuals and companies, so in the event of Three Shires Wills ceasing to trade for whatever reason, your Will is still kept safe. You and your executors have direct access to your Will. This may not be the case with Wills lodged in other places for example Solicitors.
The SWW provides fast, efficient access to your Will for those authorised. The service is computerised with a unique number given to your Will for easy retrieval. Therefore, there is no delay in getting your Will to the Executors.
Cards are issued by the SWW to give to your executors, so they know the whereabouts of your Will, the unique number and the instructions on how to obtain it. There is no cost to your executors for retrieving your Will.
A certificate is sent to you, detailing the unique number and what other documents they are holding.
A copy Will is provided by Three Shires Wills for you to keep, to remind you of the contents.
Future updated Wills through Three Shires Wills are exchanged with your existing Wills held in storage at no extra cost.
When you send your Will into storage, a check is made to make sure that it has been correctly signed and witnessed. If proper procedures are not followed, it could end up invalid.
This storage service is a low cost, easy option to give you and your Executors peace of mind. Having gone to the trouble of making a Will, it surely makes sense to keep it safe and sound.
Document Storage Tariff
Single Wills initial set-up charge £25.00 - Annual charge thereafter by standing order £25.00
Double Wills initial set-up charge £25.00 - Annual charge thereafter by standing order £27.00
Probate is the legal process required to ascertain who has the authority and responsibility to deal with the deceased’s affairs. Once granted, the Executors must pay any taxes due, close all bank accounts and sell any property. All the outstanding debts and funeral expenses are then paid with the remainder being distributed amongst the beneficiaries in the Will.
This can be an arduous task for anyone who has no experience of Probate, not to mention time consuming, at what is often a time of great sadness and confusion.
If the estate is worth more than £325,000 it may be liable to Inheritance Tax. It would be essential for the Executors to enlist professional help in such circumstances, especially since they become personally liable for any debts.
At Three Shires Wills we have links with trusted partners who provide a specialist probate service at reasonable cost. They will quote a fixed cost to give you peace of mind, knowing that there won’t be nasty surprises at the end of their work, which commonly happens with other probate practitioners.
They are all regulated and insured and offer a highly professional service. If you would like to be put in touch with a probate specialist, please make contact with us.