Lasting Power of Attorney
Single LPA from only £375
A Power of Attorney is a legal document whereby a person (the Donor) gives authority to one or more persons they trust (called the Attorney(s)) to act on their behalf and to make decisions with regard to their financial affairs and/or their personal welfare. There can be an ordinary power of attorney or a lasting power of attorney.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document where a person (the Donor) appoints a trusted person (the Attorney) to act and make decisions on their behalf concerning their legal matters, financial matters and health, if the Donor is not longer able to. For example, if the Donor is affected by a mental disorder or is incapacitated in a coma, their Attorney can carry out their wishes for them. There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney: Property and Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney, which allows the Attorney to make decisions about the Donor’s finances such as include recovering income, collecting benefits from the government, selling and purchasing property, paying bills and other decisions relating to the management of property.
The second type of LPA is the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, which allows Attorney to make decisions about the Donor’s health care and welfare, such as deciding where the Donor should live or making a decision about medical treatment. Every LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
What would a Will do for you?
Though we don’t like to think about the inevitable, it’s important to ensure that our assets go where we want them to after we are gone. A Will is a legal document that records your wishes for what happens to your ‘estate’ (your property, shares, savings, investments and personal possessions) after death. When you draw up a Will with us, we ask you what assets you have, who you want them to be distributed to (your ‘beneficiaries’) and how you want them to be distributed. You’ll also appoint your ‘executors’ who will be those who will carry out your wishes after your death. Once it’s all drawn up, it will be signed to make it legally binding, and we can even offer to store it for you.
What if I already have a will, but need for to be reviewed?
If you’ve already had a Will written, it’s very important to make sure it’s up to date, especially if you’ve had any changes of life circumstances like finding a new life partner, moving home or having a baby. Our Will writing service is charged at a fixed fee, starting at just £250 + VAT, so you’ll never be left with any unexpected fees.
Single Will: £250*
Mirror Will: £350*
Property and Finance (Single): £300
Health and Welfare (Single): £300
Probate from £800*
Fees inclusive of VAT and disbursements
N.B. provided simple and straightforward
Common Wills & Probate Questions
What happens if I don't write a Will?
Have you ever seen Heir Hunters? It’s all about what happens to people’s wealth if they haven’t written a Will. Control is relinquished into the hands of the court and the government will choose where best to redistribute your wealth. It could go to very distant family members you’ve never heard of or met, or it could end up back in the Crown’s and government’s own coffers.
Recent research has shown that over half of the people in UK have not made a will. In fact, the Times has reported that the value of estates belonging to people who died without a Will or heirs has almost doubled in 12 months. In 2012, the Treasury and the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster had benefited to the tune of £38.5 million. This is money that, had a Will been drawn up, may have benefited family members or friends instead.
Can I change my Will?
Absolutely! Many people have a change of circumstance over their lives and will need to make a change to their Will. This could be adding new assets to your Will, changing your beneficiaries or any other other wishes you might have. You can contact us for further advice to begin changing your Will.
But I've lived with my partner for years. Why do I need a Will?
Unfortunately, the UK has no provision for ‘Common Law Husband and Wife’. This means that unmarried couples are not recognised as conjoined in the eyes of the law. If one partner dies without leaving a Will, then the surviving partner will not automatically inherit anything unless they jointly owned property together. As an unmarried couple, it’s very import than you draw up the proper Wills to make sure that your surviving partners can inherit from you.
But I don't have a partner or any children. Why do I need a will?
Wills are not just for the elderly. If you have no partner or children and you don’t write a Will, then your wealth will be redistributed back to your parents. Whilst this might be agreeable to most, there are some unhappy circumstances where this might, in fact, not be to your liking. Say for example you were estranged from one of your parents at birth. You might not feel it is right to automatically redistribute wealth equally between two parents. If no one can be found, then according the laws of intestacy, your wealth could ultimately be redistributed to the Crown or Treasury. Or, in happier circumstances, you might wish to leave parts of your estate to charities or friends. Having a proper Will drawn up will enable you to do this.
What are powers of attorney?
Lasting powers of attorney are rights given by you, to someone else to make decisions on your behalf if you become impaired in some way and unable to make decisions yourself. This could be decisions about your finances or your care in the future. A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is something we hope you’ll never need to use, but if you ever do come to need it then it is utterly invaluable. There are a number of very sad cases, where people have regretted not granting or being granted an LPA. For example, the tragic case of Heather Bateman. Heather and her husband had been married for years, had both written Wills and both had their names on the deeds to their house. When her husband was hit by a car and fell into a coma, she needed access to his funds in order to continue to support her family. Yet, as her husband Michael had never granted her LPA, Heather had an enormously expensive, 3 year legal battle during an incredibly challenging time.
It’s never nice to plan for the worst but organising Lasting Powers of Attorney can protect you and your loved ones from extortionate bills and lots of bureaucratic heartache should the time ever come where you might need to use it. We can help you to put together a Lasting Power of Attorney. Please contact us for more information.
Do I have to leave lump sums of my assets?
No. If you do not wish to leave a lump sum to your beneficiary, you can leave a trust fund instead. Trust funds are often left to people who are under 18, but you can leave a trust fund according to various kinds of circumstances. A trust fund can either pay out when the beneficiary reaches a certain age, or it can pay out an allowance until the fund is depleted. There are various stipulations you can request, if you wish. Perhaps you’d only like the money to be used for education, or the purchase of a first home. As it’s your money, you can decide the circumstances under which it will be given.
Can you dispute a will?
Partially. There are occasions where a Will can be disputed. For example, if you think the person who wrote the Will was coerced at the time or writing, or not of sound mind. If you are serious about disputing a Will, we suggest you seek legal advice as soon as possible.
How much does going through Probate cost?
The cost of Probate can really vary and is entirely dependent on your personal situation. If you have a very complicated family, the estate is very large or there are complications with the beneficiaries then the cost will be larger than for a simpler Probate application. Do feel free to get in contact with us directly. Once we have understood your personal situation it will be much easier for us to give you an estimation of the costs.
What are the stages of Probate?
Loosely speaking, there are three main stages of Probate. The first is investigating the estate and checking how big is it, what has been left, and if there any outstanding debts to be paid. Even seemingly insignificant assets need to be checked. The second stage is completing tax returns, working out tax relief and applying for the Grant of Representation. The forms to complete will depend on the circumstances of the estate. The final stage is collected the assets, paying any outstanding debts and distributed the estate between the beneficiaries.
But I've got a Will, why do I need probate?
A Will sets out someone’s legal wishes for their estate after their death. Probate is what allows beneficiaries to access the estate that has been left to them. However, there are a few occasions where you would not need a grant. For example, if the estate is less than £5,000, or only includes cash funds, you do not normally need a grant. If all property in the is owned by beneficial joint However, where the estate includes other assets, like property, land or shares, then you will normally need to obtain a grant.
No Will has been left. Do I still need to go through Probate?
When no will has been left, you will need to apply for Letters of Administration rather than a Grant of Representation, though the term ‘probate’ is still sometimes used to refer to Letters of Administration, as it will function in the same way as a Grant of Representation; it will give you the ability break up and distribute the estate that has been left.
What about inheritance tax?
The responsibility of working out tax returns, tax relief, allowable deductions and working out the correct amount of Inheritance Tax due is one of the responsibilities of the executors. However, the myriad of forms can be quite complicated, so we are on hand to help you complete the Grant of Representation and to make the process easier for you. Though we are not accountants, we can also advise you to some degree on Inheritance Tax planning. We can also assist in helping to sell the estate once Probate has been granted.
Our Wills & Probate Solicitors & Contact Form
Salma carries out a broad range of private client work which include the preparation of Wills, powers of attorney and all family law related work.
As the Head of Private Clients, Ian has over 10 years’ experience in legal matter and has worked with a wide range of individuals to help them through their requirements.