06 September 2022

The cost of living crisis is biting hard with rising household bills and fuel costs. You may feel that sorting out your legal affairs is something to be put on the back burner, but this could be a false saving. It is worth ensuring your Will is up to date and that you have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.

Having Lasting Powers of Attorney and up to date Wills in place are also likely to save you and your family professional fees further down the line. If you have not appointed an Attorney to deal with your property and finances or your health and welfare, then a family member may need to apply to Court to become your ‘Deputy’ if you lose capacity to make your own decisions. The Deputyship process is very costly and time consuming, all of which could be avoided by making LPAs now. Deputies are also subject to on-going reporting requirements to the Office of the Public Guardian and to annual Court fees, as they are understandably under more scrutiny by the Court than Attorneys, as they have put themselves forward to deal with your finances, as opposed to someone chosen by you when you had capacity.

A professionally prepared Will is also less likely to be open to disputes, claims and complications than a home made Will, so again, this could save your family costs after your death. If you prepare your own Will and it is incorrectly signed for example, the witnesses will need to be traced after your death and provide an affidavit concerning the circumstances of the signing of the Will. Something that is likely to cost more in legal fees than the cost of a professionally prepared Will in the first place. A solicitor will also be able to advise you on the chances of any claims against your estate and can prepare you an appropriately drafted Will to minimise the chance of such claims.

The autumn and winter is a time when a number of solicitors do ‘free Will schemes’ so this may be the time to put in place what you have been putting off, with no cost to you.

If you would like a free half hour appointment in person, by telephone or Zoom to discuss Wills, LPAs, inheritance tax planning or the administration of someone’s estate, please contact Christine Butterfield on 01305 216205