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Wills, Living Wills and Powers of Attorney

Why it is important to make a will

How do you make a will?

  • A will is a legal instruction about what should happen you your estate when you die, who the beneficiaries will be – you instruct an executor to carry out the actions of your will – this can be anyone you deem appropriate including family member, solicitor, bank or financial advisor .
  • A solicitor can help you draft a will
  • Or you can purchase a will pack from a number of different outlets this is a basic will where you fill in the appropriate details
  • There are certain instructions that are needed to make a will valid
  • Once a will has been made then keep it in a safe place, solicitors can hold a will for you and there are websites online which will do this for you
  • http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/making-a-will/
  • Our links page includes a link to a will-writing service.

Living Wills

  • A Living Will is a statement expressing your views on how you would or would not like to be treated if you are unable to make decisions about your treatment yourself at the relevant time in the future. This would be in cases where you do not have mental capacity to make a decision such as after a stroke or car accident.
  • There are two formal names for living wills which are:-
    • Advance decision – a decision to refuse treatment
    • Advance statement – any other decision on how you would like to be treated
  • http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/living-wills/ (They also have a PDF available for download giving lots of detail)

Powers of Attorney

  • When you lack mental capacity to make decisions someone can do this on your behalf this is called a power of attorney
  • These can be everyday decisions such as ones about food and clothes or more important decisions such as where you live and medical treatment you receive
  • Ordinary Powers of Attorney can be set up by you for someone to look after your finances (this may be when you are abroad and you are unable to), they stop when you no longer have mental capacity
  • Lasting powers of attorney work can be set up when you are still mentally capable of making decisions but continue to work if you want to have someone continue to look after your finances once you lose mental capacity. They can also be set up for other areas of your life such as healthcare and personal welfare. They have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian
  • http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Mentalcapacityandthelaw/index.htm
  • Forms for Powers of Attorney – http://www.justice.gov.uk/global/forms/opg/lasting-power-of-attorney/index.htm

Role of the executor

The main role of an Executor is to ensure the deceased’s wishes are carried out according to what is stated in the will. An Executor may choose to enlist the help of a solicitor or accountant to administer the estate or he may himself take full responsibility for the deceased’s assets.

The Executor will:

  • Inform family, friends and all relevant persons of the death of the deceased.
  • Also usually be involved in making the funeral arrangements. This is often done jointly with family members and friends of the deceased
  • Need to apply for a grant of Probate. The grant of Probate is the authorisation required by financial institutions before control of assets can be passed on.
  • Have the responsibility of paying any of the deceased’s outstanding debts from the assets of the estate.
  • Need to ensure the correct amount of tax is paid out of the estate.
  • distribute the rest of the estate to the named beneficiaries
  • Once the beneficiaries have been paid and the estate wound up the Executor has completed his job and that role has come to an end.

It is possible for a person to renounce their role as Executor if for any reason they do not wish to continue. A form of Renunciation needs to be completed and the Probate Registry informed.

http://www.writingawill.org.uk/executors.htm

Applying for probate

  • A grant of probate is needed to sort out the deceased affairs. The executor of the will applies for this
  • If there is not a will a close relative can apply for a ‘grant letters of administration’
  • The forms that need to be completed vary depending on location and if inheritance tax is due. The link below outlines the forms

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Death/Preparation/DG_10029716

http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/civil/probate/index.htm


Related Links

Making a Will

Legacy Alliance - professional will making service

Surveys tell us that 6 out of 10 people haven’t made a Will. This may be because people can believe that if they are married, in a civil partnership or have a partner, then their “other half” will automatically get everything when they die. Unfortunately this may not be the case.

Making a Will is extremely important and is the only way that you can stipulate who gets what after your death. Equally, making A Will can ensure that any dependent children you leave behind are looked after by people you nominate and can live where you choose.

Memoria have identified the Legacy Alliance – a service which can offer a comprehensive professional Will drafting service to Memoria clients and their families, carried out by post email and phone.

Wills can be arranged from £160 plus VAT but in addition Memoria clients benefit from a 10% discount off normal prices. If you would like to know more about this service please click our dedicated link here…

We believe that the independent services listed and linked to from this web-site by the mentioned companies to be as described but can take no responsibility for their quality.

Wills, Living Wills and Powers of Attorney