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Living wills and Lasting Power of Attorney: what you need to know

Key tips for writing your will

If you are thinking about writing a will, then you may be looking for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything will be dealt with properly after your death. However, most of us won’t have much experience of writing a will, and for this reason this article has put together some top tips that should help you along the way.

Be careful about who you ask to help you write your will

There are two major issues with asking people who would benefit from your will to help you write it. Firstly, you may feel pressured into leaving them more money than you would have really wanted – as it can be hard not to worry about disappointing someone when they’re sitting right next to you. Secondly, if other beneficiaries wish to contest the will, they could do so on the grounds of claiming that you were coerced into leaving the person who helped you write the will more than they deserved. To get away from this issue completely, you should try to ask someone who isn’t named in the will at all.

Get it signed to make it legally binding

Your will needs to be witnessed by two people who won’t benefit from anything in it – or it won’t be legally binding. It is important to make sure that you have got this step right, or you run the risk of having completely wasted your time putting your wishes down on paper in the first place.

Think about guardians for young children

If you are on your own looking after children, then you will need to state who you wish to look after them if you die. This can be something that can cause a lot of stress within the family, with everyone feeling as though they should be trying to do the right thing, so it is a much better idea to appoint guardians in your will – but obviously talk to them about it first!

Review your will on a regular basis

How you feel when you write your will may not be how you feel in a decade – or even next year. For this reason, you should make sure that you review your will on a relatively regular basis. This means that you are still happy with everyone who will be receiving something in your will, and if anyone you were leaving something to dies before you, you can change your wishes – or there is the risk of things being left to their next of kin, who you may never have even known or met.

Keep your will safe

The final tip is to ensure that your family always know where your will is kept, so that they are able to access it when the time comes. This means that things will be as easy as possible for them during what is a very stressful time, and this means that you can rest assured that everything will be taken care of, and that all of your wishes are written down in a way that is legally binding.

The benefits of a lasting power of attorney?

If you are currently in the process of thinking about what might happen to your finances when you are no longer able to deal with them yourself, then you might want to start thinking about appointing a lasting power of attorney. The role of this is to make key decisions on your behalf when you lack the mental capacity to do so, so it is important that the person appointed in this position is someone that you know and trust. If you have not yet nominated anyone to hold this position on your behalf, then you may be interested to hear about the benefits associated with it, which are outlined below.

No costly processes to appoint a deputy

If you don’t have a lasting power of attorney, your loved ones will need to apply to the court for the position of deputy – which is very similar. This can cost a lot of money and take valuable time, so it is much better if things have been thought about in advance, and you have already nominated someone for lasting power of attorney.

You can choose who shapes your future

Sometimes, if you don’t have a lasting power of attorney in place, the people who are given the power may not be the people who you would have wanted – but by the time the important decisions are made, you have already lost the mental capacity to have any input. With this in mind, if you want to know exactly who will be taking care of your finances when you are no longer able to, you need to ensure that your lasting power of attorney is in place ready for whenever anything happens.

Your bills and care home fees will be taken care of

It can be difficult to deal with bills or care home fees when the person in question has no mental capacity, and for this reason you need to think in advance and make sure that everything is covered. They will be able to make sure that the money is in the right place at all times to be able to pay everything that is needed, and this therefore helps to ensure that you will have the best possible care in place whenever you need it.

Making gifts to either family members or charities

Not everybody wants to wait until they have passed away for their families to receive money from their will. Many people would prefer for this to happen while they are still alive, and if this is the case a lasting power of attorney would be able to make gifts of this kind. Having someone appointed that you trust to deal with such a delicate task is key.

Ultimately, seeing as your finances are so important and so personal to you, it is much better to have someone dealing with them who you know and trust – as this gives you the best possible chance of being cared for in the future. So, setting up a lasting power of attorney is certainly a great step, and one that you should consider taking.

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