Our Lasting Powers of Attorney Solicitors are here to help.
A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions. This is known as lacking mental capacity
There are 2 types of LPA’s:
(1) Health and Welfare
(2) Property and Financial affair
You can choose to have one LPA or both.
There is a fee payable to the Office of Public Guardian of £84.00 unless you are exempt. For more details on how we can support you, contact our Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney team today.
Your Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) Team
Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney FAQs
People often ask this question, and the answer is yes! There is no issue with naming executors who are also beneficiaries.
No, there is no central record for wills. If you make a Will it is really important to make sure that you tell your friends or family that you have done so and where it is held. If you do not want to tell anyone, then it is a good idea to keep the non-confidential paperwork from the solicitor, somewhere obvious in the house, so that it would be clear to anyone looking, which solicitors you have used in the past and that would then be the first point of call. However, the National Will Register are advising people to register for the following benefits.
The National Will Register, which is operated by Certainty and is endorsed by The Law Society of England & Wales, and helps ensure that after a death a Will, and the last version of it, can be found. Today over 8 million Wills are now in the registration system. This means that after someone dies and before probate is granted, a Will can be located for a loved one and only by a person named in the Will (the executors and beneficiaries).
Registering a Will is a vital process that prevents families, beneficiaries and executors suffering additional stress because they either cannot find the Will, are not sure if they hold the last Will or are unaware if a Will was ever written.
Being able to locate a Will quickly after a death removes the additional emotional turmoil the family can face hunting through their loved one’s possessions. If they do find a copy of a Will, they then have to work out if it is indeed the last Will written and will need to understand where the original is stored, as the original document will be required to distribute the estate. This can be very distressing and create unnecessary uncertainty at a difficult time.
Our advice is that is best practice to make a will in each country that you own property. You must ensure that you always advise your solicitor of your other will(s), so that the appropriate wording can be used, so as not to inadvertently revoke any foreign will(s).
If you are married, or in a civil partnership and you have children but no will in place, then the intestacy rules would dictate the division of the estate between your spouse and children. The first £322,000 (known as the Statutory Legacy) would pass to your spouse, then the rest of your estate would be split between your spouse and your children. These arrangements might be wholly unsatisfactory for your surviving spouse. A will ensures that you control the distribution of your assets.
An individual has an allowance of £325,000. This is transferable between spouses and civil partners, which equates to £650,000 on the second death. There is also a ‘residence’ nil rate band, this is £175,000. You might need advice about the residence nil rate band, as it is quite complicated and is not simply available across the board. Its’ availability will depend on various factors, such as whether your estate is left to lineal descendants and the size of your estate on death.
A beneficiary is someone who is named in the will as someone who will receive a benefit or gift from the person who has died.
A Grant of Probate is a Legal document issued by the Probate Registry. It is usually needed and requested by financial institutions to close bank accounts, sale sole assets such as property and settle debts of the deceased. Once Probate has been granted this gives the Executor the authority to administered the estate. If the deceased did not leave a Will, then the Personal Representatives (another name for Executors) would apply for a Letters of Administration in the same way.
A Grant of Probate is not always needed. For example, joint assets and joint bank accounts would likely transfer by survivorship.
What happens if you die without a will?
Are you aware that if you die without a will, then there is a statutory framework in place, dictating who gets your estate?
Where a person dies without a will is married, or in a civil partnership and does not have children, all of the estate passes to the surviving spouse or civil partner.
If the person who dies without a will has both a spouse, or civil partner and children, then the surviving spouse or civil partner takes the statutory legacy (currently £322,000), personal belongings and half of the residuary estate. The other half of the residuary estate passes to the intestate’s children.
If you are not married, or in a civil partnership, but have children then the estate passes to children.
If you die without a will it is quite likely that these statutory provisions will be less than ideal for your personal circumstances. They may also cause practical problems for those you leave behind and may lead to loved ones having to consider court action.
A common misconception which prevails, is that a cohabitee has automatic rights to their partner’s estate on death, if they have lived together for many years. This is not the case and the latest intestacy provisions, which were updated in 2014 did not change that. If you are living with a partner then it is vital that you consider what would happen on the death of either one of you and make sure that you have the right arrangements in place, through a valid will.
Another important consideration that people need to be aware of is that if you die, separated from your spouse or civil partner, then your whole estate would pass to them, unless you are actually divorced.
Clearly nothing beats taking the time to consider your personal circumstances, assess your financial position and take stock of who you need to provide for. Then seek the advice of a qualified, insured solicitor to prepare a will that meets with all of your requirements.
The ‘residence nil rate band’, is an allowance applicable to the main residence passing on death, to direct descendants, and is £175,000. This allowance is only applicable to the main residence and those who are married, or civil partners and is in addition to the existing £325,000 allowance. So if you can apply it, you are looking at a potential overall inheritance tax threshold of £1,000.000 between a married couple, or civil partners.
It will not be available where the home is left to other family members, who are not direct descendants of the deceased. The allowance is also subject to tapering if you are worth more than £2,000,000. So it is not an allowance that is guaranteed for everyone, unlike the individual nil rate band allowance of £325,000.
This is not ideal for those with a modest house, who have significant investments and savings, nor for those who are leaving their properties to nephews and nieces, for example.
If you require information about the inheritance tax allowances, then please contact one of our experiences probate staff.