Did you know that planning ahead goes further than just making a will, especially if you’re a homeowner? Even with a legally valid will, there’s a risk that in the future your loved ones might not be provided for in the way that you’d hoped.
If you don’t keep your will up to date, it might not deal with your estate in the way you wanted when you die. There are also certain risks that a standard will, on its own, cannot prepare you for.
For example, if you lose the ability to make decisions in the future because of an accident or illness, your loved ones can’t automatically step in and take control of decisions about things like changing your mortgage, or even simply paying household bills. This means your finances and assets could be held in limbo and decisions about your care and medical treatment could be made by someone you wouldn’t have chosen.
Without robust planning there’s also a risk that the value of your home could be lost to care home fees, could be eroded through divorce or re-marriage or your estate could be liable for more Inheritance Tax than it needs to be when you die.
Co-op Legal Services can discuss your estate planning needs with you and make recommendations on how to get the right level of protection for you and your family.
If you’ve made a will but haven’t recently reviewed it, are you still confident that it’s an accurate reflection of your wishes? If your circumstances have changed or new people have entered your life, would everyone still be provided for in the way that you’d want? Does your will protect what’s most important to you?
There are different types of wills which work in different ways, and these offer various levels of protection for your assets and your loved ones.
If you or your partner or spouse need to go into care in the future, the value of your home could be lost to care fees. With the right planning and the use of trust wills, it’s possible to ringfence part of your home to protect it against this risk. Trusts can also be used to look after inheritance on behalf of vulnerable beneficiaries.
If you become unable to make your own decisions in the future, because of an accident or illness, who would you choose to step in and take care of things for you? Your spouse? Your children?
In reality, no one automatically has the right to make decisions about your health or finances for you, not even your immediate family.
With a legal document called a lasting power of attorney (LPA), you can appoint one or more people to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime. The people you appoint to manage your affairs are called your attorneys. You can make two types of LPA, one for health and care decisions and one for financial decisions.