FAQs for Wills, LPAs and Tax

Answered by Associate  Sally Manning in our Private Client Team.

Q1. Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

This can be answered in the same way as we treat travel insurance.  Hopefully you will not need a Lasting Power of Attorney but if you do, your attorneys will be relieved to see that you have it in place as it will save both time and money.  A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) appoints people (known as Attorneys) to look after your affairs if for any reason you are unable to do so. There are two types of LPA.  One allows your Attorneys to deal with your property and financial affairs and the other enables your Attorneys to make decision about your health and welfare.  Please note that some nursing homes insist on future residents having LPAs so that they know someone can act if the resident has lost or  loses the capacity to act for themselves.  Please arrange an appointment to discuss this further with us.

Q2. Can I alter my Enduring Power of Attorney?

No.  An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) is still valid but it cannot be altered.  If you wish to change your attorney/s you need to make a lasting Power of Attorney.  Please note that EPAs only cover your property and financial affairs.  Therefore, it is worth considering making a Lasting Power to cover your welfare needs. Please arrange an appointment to discuss this further with us.

Q3. Can my Attorneys continue to pay invoices from my estate when I die?

The people you appoint to be your Attorneys under a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney will cease to be your Attorney immediately upon death.  The administration of your estate will be dealt with by the Executors that you appoint in your Will. If you are not sure of what you can and can’t do as an attorney, please arrange an appointment to discuss this further with us.

Q4. Is my Will valid even if I have separated from my spouse or civil partner?  

Yes. A separation does not make your Will invalid. You should alter it as soon as possible (if you do not wish your spouse or partner to benefit).  When you get divorced or your civil partnership has been dissolved, your Will will still be valid but read as if your ex-spouse or civil partner had pre-deceased you.  Please arrange an appointment to discuss this further with us.

Q5.Do I need to change my Will if I get married?

 Your Will will be revoked upon marriage unless it has been made in anticipation of that marriage. Please arrange an appointment with us to discuss what your Will says or needs to say.

Q6. Can the beneficiaries in my Will also be my Executors? 

Yes.  However, your beneficiaries should not witness your Will. If you are not sure who can act as your witnesses, please arrange an appointment for us to advise you.

Q7.  When do I have to pay inheritance tax?

The Nil Rate Band (NRB) is the basic allowance available to an individual before any inheritance tax becomes payable.   The NRB is currently £325,000.  The value is made up of gifts over and above the allowed allowances for the previous seven years before death and also the value of your estate when you pass away.

Q8.  What is the Residence Nil Rate Band?

The Residence Nil Rate Band (RNRB) is an allowance available in addition to the Nil Rate Band and came into effect from April 2017.  To apply the RNRB, your property must pass to your lineal descendants (children, grandchildren etc..).  The allowance started at £100,000 for 2016 / 2017 and will increase by £25,000 each tax year until 2020 when it will be a maximum of £175,000.  Together with the Nil Rate Band (currently £325,000), this will give an individual an allowance free from inheritance tax of up to £500,000, by 2020/2021. 

Q9.  How much is inheritance tax?

Inheritance Tax is charged at 40% for anything over the inheritance tax allowance.

Q10.  Will you store my Will?

Yes.  We will store your Wills free of charge. We also store deeds free of charge for existing clients. 

Q11.  Do common law wives and husbands really exist in law?  

In short, no.  The law does not automatically recognise couples who have lived together as if  married or civil partners.  This means that if you do not have a Will the intestacy rules do not distribute any part of your estate to your partner.  There is an opportunity to make a claim under the Independent (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 if you have lived together for more than two years.     

If you have any further questions or queries please contact Sally Manning on 01963 407060 or sally.manning@battens.co.uk 

See our Lasting Powers of Attorney services here, our Wills and Trusts services here and Tax Planning services here.