by Howard Nulty
In my formative years as a solicitor in Liverpool and St Helens it was almost unheard of for a Power of Attorney to be asked for. Probably in the 70s and 80s people didn’t live quite as long, or perhaps it is just that solicitors didn’t offer that service as often.
Nowadays people often live into their 80s and 90s, and whilst being physically well they may suffer with problems with memory, or may struggle to manage their affairs.
To avoid this happening you can make a Lasting Power of Attorney (an LPA). The LPA can only be given while you are still able to look after your own affairs. If you wait until you have a problem, then any LPA that you attempt to give may be challenged as being given without capacity. You would then have to apply to the Court of Protection which is a more lengthy and expensive process.
If you give an LPA you can withdraw it and change it if you wish, but once given you can relax knowing that the trusted person of your choice will do right by you. Really anyone over 45 should have an LPA.
Making a Will (using a solicitor experienced in making wills) is also important. A will to be valid has to be in writing, it has to be signed and witnessed in accordance with the various Wills Acts and also it must be clear that you intended to make a Will. You have to make sure as well that there are no dependents within the classes referred to in the Inheritance (Provision For Family and Dependants) Act 1975. If there are, “reasonable provision” has to be made for them in the will.
The process isn’t complicated. But it is easy to make a mistake and think that you have a valid will, which will only serve to make a lot of problems for those left behind.
The Wills that tend to be argued over are online wills completed by the person wanting the will and homemade wills… although I have seen some wills from solicitors and will writers that have ended up in Court too. Challenges that are often made are by dependents within the 1975 Act.
In short, will Wills and LPA it’s crucial to have a solicitor who has the knowledge and experience to ensure that every detail is covered. The problems that you leave behind may not bother you, but those that you care about can be involved in stressful litigation.
For more information on Wills & LPA call 01744 454433, or click here to email firstname.lastname@example.org >
***PLUS: To help you put your will in place whilst keeping your social distance, we’ll be launching a brand new online wills service, direct from the experts at sthelenslaw.co.uk soon. So stay home, save lives, and watch this space for more information!