It’s that time of year again. The Christmas decorations are coming down, there’s no turkey left for curries or sandwiches and that hideous knitted jumper that only comes out once a year is now back in the closet, not to be seen or spoken of again for another eleven months.
Now is the time to think about the year ahead and the good intentions that we all have to try to improve our lives. What’s your new year’s resolution? To exercise more? Lose weight? Eat more healthily? Take up a new hobby? Spend more time with family and friends? Stop smoking? Whatever resolution you have made, we wish you all the very best and hope you achieve your goal.
Whilst we’re on the subject of resolutions, here’s some food for thought; perhaps 2018 could be the year that you finally get your personal and financial affairs in order.
The first step to doing this is to make sure you have a valid Will in place. A Will is an important formally drawn legal document which contains written instructions about how you wish your belongings to be distributed after your death. According to the latest figures, forty percent of UK adults do not have a valid Will. If the worst was to happen and you were to pass away leaving no Will, your property would be passed on according to the Intestacy Rules. This means that the whole or part of your estate could go to people other than those you would wish to inherit. In addition, not having a Will makes winding up your estate lengthier, more difficult and more costly for your loved ones.
If you already have a Will in place, take the time to review it this year to make sure that it is still correct for your circumstances and meets your requirements. Remember, that simple Will you executed a number of years ago might not now deal with your estate how you would wish. Your estate may have grown in value and be subject to Inheritance Tax and you might now have children or grandchildren you wish to make provision for, for example.
Another thing you need to think about is making Lasting Powers of Attorney. These are documents which allow you to nominate people you trust to make decisions relating to your finances or health and welfare, in the event that you become incapable of managing your own affairs for whatever reason. It is important to remember that without these documents in place, there is no automatic legal right for your next of kin to take these kinds of decisions on your behalf and your loved ones could end up having to apply to the Court of Protection to become deputies for you. This process is lengthy, costly, stressful and completely avoidable with a bit of forward planning.
Whatever you decide to do in 2018, a worthwhile and achievable goal would be to make sure you have everything in place to protect your loved ones if the worst were to happen. Doing this should lead to an absolute state of peace of mind which will allow you to enjoy the next twelve months to the full and make 2018 your best year yet!
Contact us today for advice relating to new or existing Wills, or making and registering Lasting Powers of Attorney.