Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Advanced Directives

Feb 28, 2018 | Tony Byrne's View

Most people are aware of the importance of Wills but it is staggering how many adults do not have one. A 2013 report by Unbiased.co.uk and Certainty.co.uk revealed that nearly 60% of the UK adult population have no Will. Even more astounding is the fact that nearly 40% of people aged over 55 do not have a Will despite of the fact that this group needs Wills more than any other.

Even if you do have a Will is it up to date? Does it reflect your current wishes? Is it modern and does it take account if changes to legislation in recent years? Is it legally effective?

Because legislation has changed so much in recent years it is highly unlikely that your Will is up to date and legally effective unless it was drafted within the last 12 months or so.

As for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPA) I was shocked to discover that only 1% of the adult population has one in place! In my opinion any adult with even modest wealth should have an LPA or an EPA. Certainly if you have a Will you should have an LPA meaning that at least 40% of the UK adult population should have one.

I have assumed that every reader of this blog knows what a Will is. However, I am sure not everyone knows what an LPA or an EPA is. Basically such a document comes into force when the donor, the person who created the LPA/EPA, is diagnosed as physically or mentally impaired. The Attorney/s are then able to step into the donor’s shoes and handle their financial and property affairs (LPA Property And Financial or EPA) and/or their health and welfare issues (LPA Health and Welfare). This is subject to the LPA/EPA having been first successfully registered with the Office of Public Guardian.

Without a registered LPA or EPA in place nobody can step into the donor’s shoes and act on their behalf not even a spouse of 50 years! If you do not have such a document in place when you need it your loved ones will have to seek legal advice and go through the courts to get a Deputy appointed instead of an Attorney and you may even end up with a Deputy who is totally unrelated to you. It is a very expensive and time consuming process which some lawyers estimate could cost you £100K+ to put right.

So think of an LPA as a relatively low cost ‚Äúinsurance policy‚ÄĚ which ensures that your Attorneys are able to look after you for the rest of your life in accordance with your wishes as outlined in your LPA.

You might like to consider creating an Advanced Directive, AD, otherwise known as a Living Will either instead of an LPA Health and Welfare or in addition to one. The key difference is that an AD is actioned by the health profession without the need for attorneys.

So if you are one of the 60% of the UK adult population without a Will or the 99% without an LPA or and AD do contact us for further advice and to create these documents for you. You know it makes sense.


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