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Choice Wills - Blog

  • thinking about will writing
    28/06/2018 - Choice Wills 0 Comments
    Thinking about making a Will? You already have a one. You just don’t know it…

    There is a great deal of misunderstanding about what happens if you die without a Will.

    It’s only when people realise the consequences of not having a Will that they take action. The title of this blog is a fact; you do have a Will already written for you by the state. It’s known as The Laws of Intestacy and it’s also true that many people are unaware of this.

    The Laws of Intestacy are not negotiable. If you die without a Will these laws will apply, regardless of the financial hardship they cause for your loved ones.

    A Will, in it’s most basic form, sets out 3 things:
    1. Who will administer your affairs? 
    2. Who will benefit from your death?
    3. Who will care for your children?

    If you don’t have a Will, the Laws of Intestacy will decide these things for you. In other words, you have a Will written by the state.

    1. Who will administer your affairs?

    A Will would allow you to appoint people into the roles of Executor and Trustee. If you do not write a Will before you die, an Administrator would need to be appointed. The Administrator would need to apply for a Grant of Representation. You can usually apply for a Grant of Representation if you are the next of kin.

    It is out of your hands who is appointed to administer your affairs and it may not always be who you would choose. If you are separated from your spouse for example, your spouse remains your next of kin until you are divorced. If you live with a long-term partner, with shared finances, it might not be appropriate for your estranged spouse to be given control of your financial affairs.

    The only way that you can be sure of who will be appointed to act on your behalf is to make a Will.

       2. Who will benefit from your death?

    This is the biggest area of misunderstanding and could cause irreparable damage to your family’s finances.

    The Laws of Intestacy specifies who will benefit from your estate on death based on 2 things:

    1. Whether you are married or in a civil partnership
    2. Whether you have children
    If you are married or in a civil partnership with no children; your spouse will receive your estate in full.

    If you are married or in a civil partnership with children  ; your spouse will receive the first £250,000. If your estate is valued at more than £250,000, the amount above this sum will be split into 2 parts. Your spouse will receive half and the remaining half will be shared equally between your children when they attain the age of 18.

    Your spouse or civil partner will also receive your ‘personal chattels’ (household items, jewellery etc).
    If you are not married or in a civil partnership with children; your estate will be shared equally between your children when they attain the age of 18.
    If you are not married or in a civil partnership with no children; your estate will be distributed equally between your living relatives in a set order starting with your parents

    If you are not married or in a civil partnership you will not inherit any of your partners assets regardless of how long you have lived together, even if you have children together.  

    IMPORTANT: If you fit in this group it is essential that you make a Will if you would like your long-term partner to benefit on your death.

       3.  Who will care for your children?   

    Making a Will allows you to decide on who will care for your children if both parents die.

    If you die without making a Will, leaving your children without parents, the courts will make this decision for you.

    They will not necessarily appoint the persons you would have chosen and pending their decision, your children will be taken into care usually with short term foster parents.

    If the courts decide there are no suitable guardians from within your family members, your children will remain in the care of the courts.

    Making a Will is essential when deciding who will look after your children if both parent’s die while children are below the age of 18.

    If you would like to discuss your Will arrangements, please call on 01604 378605.

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  • lasting power of attorney
    25/05/2018 - Choice Wills 0 Comments
    Why a Lasting Power of Attorney is not just for the elderly

    Most people understand the need to write a Will. Few people know why they should also consider a Lasting Power of Attorney. In this blog, we will look at why a Lasting Power of Attorney is important, whatever your age.

    According to the Alzheimer’s Society thereare 850,000 people in the UK with dementia and it is estimated that this figure will rise to over 1 million people by 2025. 

    So, what is Lasting Power of Attorney and why do you need it?

    Lasting Power of Attorney

    Implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 saw the introduction of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) on 1st October 2007. They replaced *Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) although it’s worth considering that EPA’s only dealt with finances, they did not deal with health and welfare issues.

    There are two types of LPA’s, one relates to Property and Financial affairs the other to your Personal Welfare. They are legal documents which allow a person (the Donor) to appoint another person (the Attorney) to make decisions that they can no longer make because they have lost the mental capacity to do so.

    Usually, if you are married or in a Civil Partnership you would appoint your spouse or civil partner as your Attorney and vice versa. You might then appoint others, your children perhaps if they were over the age of 18, as your reserve Attorneys.

    If you do not appoint an Attorney before you lose your mental capacity, it might be necessary for your spouse or another member of your family to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. A deputy’s powers are very limited when compared to someone who has full Power of Attorney.

    Occasionally, an application may be rejected by the Court of Protection. If this happens, it is likely that the courts will appoint the local authority (usually your local council) to make decisions on your behalf instead.


    Why do you need a Lasting Power of Attorney?

    Lasting Power of Attorney are important legal documents. Without them, your family would find it almost impossible to deal with your affairs, if you lost the ability to make your own decisions. Without a Lasting Power of Attorney:

    • The courts would control who is appointed as your deputy
    • You cannot decide what scope of power is granted to your deputy
    • If a deputy’s application is refused, decisions will be made on your behalf by strangers from your local authority
    • Your family will need to pay to apply and maintain a deputy appointment
    • Jointly held assets cannot be sold until the courts appoints a deputy. This could potentially lead to financial hardship for your spouse

    Why Lasting Power of Attorney are not just for the Elderly

    It’s not just the elderly thatlose Mental Capacity. The Alzheimer’s Society estimate that in the UK, around 42,000 people aged under the age of 65 suffer from dementia.

    Younger people can also lose mental capacity through accident or illness.
    The role of an Attorney in administering a property and financial affairs LPA is to make decisions on your behalf on things like, paying your bills, buying or selling a property, controlling your bank account or how your money is invested.

    The role of an Attorney in administering a personal welfare LPA is to make decisions on where you should live, what medical treatment you will receive, what contact you would have with people and what you should eat and drink.

    Your Attorney(s) should be people that you trust. They must be aged over 18 and not bankrupt. They should be willing to take on what is a very important role.

    We hope this article has been informative. If you have any further questions about Lasting Power of Attorney, contact us here. We are always happy to help.

    *EPA’s remain legally valid if you arranged one before 1st October 2007 however an EPA will only deal with financial matters and not health matters.
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  • pre paid funeral plans
    02/05/2018 0 Comments
    What are pre-paid funeral plans?

    Benjamin Franklyn once wrote “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

    Death is not a topic that we enjoy talking about, we all tend to put it to the back of our minds and rightly so as the very thought of our own demise is a frightening prospect.

    For most people, the fear is not for themselves but for their loved ones that are left behind. Many people worry about the financial aspects of death as well as the emotional impact.

    At some stage in life, people begin to think about putting their affairs in order. This usually happens a little later in life. Ask a 21-year-old if they have considered buying a pre-paid funeral plan and they would quite rightly find the idea very amusing. Ask a 55-year-old however and the response would be very different.

    Why do you need a funeral plan?
    The simple answer is to save money on the cost of your funeral.

    The average cost of a funeral plan is around £3,500 which usually includes an amount of £1,000 to £1,200 towards third party charges. Third party charges cover costs such as the cremation or internment fee, the Doctors fees and the Ministers fees.

    It is estimated in the Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2017 that the average cost of a basic funeral will rise to £4,260 in 2018, an increase of 4.7% compared to 2017. By 2022 the cost of an average basic funeral is expected to rise to £4,944. One thing that is certain is that the cost of a funeral will continue to rise year on year.

    When you take out a prepaid funeral plan, your funeral directors costs are fixed. No matter how long you live or however much the funeral director’s fees and services may be at the time, your family will not have anything further to pay towards them*.

    Apart from the financial benefits, knowing that your family will have professional support and guidance available to them at a very emotional time, is very reassuring to many of our clients.

    How do funeral plans work?
    A funeral plan is NOT an insurance policy. This means that there are no age restrictions (other than the minimum age for starting a plan is age 18), no medical questions or credit checks, you are guaranteed to be accepted for a funeral plan.

    You can either pay for the plan as a lump-sum or you can spread the cost over a period of time, usual payment periods are 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10** years. We only recommend plans where the funeral plan is valid from day one. For example, if a person bought a plan over a 10-year period and died the following day, providing the outstanding balance of the plan is paid by the family, the funeral plan remains guaranteed to cover the costs of the funeral. This is not the same with every plan available so care needs to be taken when choosing a plan.

    What is included in the cost of the plan will be clearly laid out and you can tailor the plan to suit your needs.

    Following a death, the funeral plan company will take care of the organisation of the funeral for you and pay the funeral directors costs direct. Any additional costs not included in the original plan, for example, an additional limousine, would be paid directly to the funeral director.

    A funeral plan can be purchased by any individual over the age of 18 or as an ‘either or’ plan, this is where a single plan is used for a couple, with the survivor purchasing a plan following first death.
    You can even use a funeral plan that you own for the funeral of another member of your family if that was necessary.

    What are the benefits of a funeral plan?
    There are many benefits of having a funeral plan, these include:
    • You can fix and guarantee the cost of your funeral director’s fees at today’s rates
    • Help relieve your family of the financial and emotional burden of paying for and planning your funeral
    • Guaranteed acceptance with no age restrictions, medical questions or credit checks needed
    • Flexible payment options
    • You have the chance to plan your funeral, from the dress code to the choice of music or flowers. You can even adapt your plan over time should you need to

    What are the benefits of arranging a funeral plan with us?
    We will provide you with a Single Will up to the value of £85.00 or a Mirror Will up to the value of £170.00 when you arrange your funeral plan with us.

    We hope this article has been helpful and informative, if you have any other questions or comments contact us here, we are always happy to help.

    *(Third party fees may rise due to inflation. Your representatives will be liable for payment of any shortfall).
    **(Plans bought and paid for over a period of more than 2 years are subject to addition instalment handling charge).

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