Life Planning Matters to Consider in 2021

The new year is a time when many of us vow to tackle the things we’ve failed to achieve over the last 12 months. After the unprecedented events of 2020, an increasing number of people have found themselves pondering the bigger life planning decisions.

Taking steps to safeguard your future and that of your family gives you and your loved one peace of mind. It can also make life a little easier should your life circumstances suddenly change. If you haven’t already made arrangements for the future, here are two life planning matters it’s worth sorting out in 2021.

Making a will

While our own death isn’t something we like to think about, failing to make a will before we pass can cause significant problems for those we leave behind. Many people mistakenly assume that their close family or partner will automatically inherit their estate but that is often not the case. A professionally drafted will is the only way to ensure that your wishes are properly carried out after your death.

A will sets out how your assets will be distributed and allows you to make particular provisions to safeguard your family, like appointing guardians for minor children. Even if your estate is not a particularly large or complex one, it’s advisable to make a will so that your loved ones have clarity. If your assets and family responsibilities are more complicated, drafting a will is a must - for example, if you have a large property portfolio, share a home or cohabit with a partner, have disabled dependants or children or own a business.

Dying without a will (known as dying intestate) could potentially leave your loved ones without a home, financially unprotected or give rise to costly and stressful inheritance disputes. So, it pays to get matters arranged in good time.

Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney

We never know what life has in store. Should circumstances arise that cause you to lose the mental capacity to make important decisions for yourself, life could get rather complicated for you and your family. However, with a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place, you can give the people you trust the power to act on your behalf should they need to.

There are two types of Power of Attorney: one that concerns finances and property, and one that covers health and welfare decisions. The first enables the people or person you appoint (known as attorneys) to make decisions regarding matters like paying bills, selling property or managing your bank accounts, pension or investments. The second gives whomever you nominate the authority to act in your best interests with regard to things like choosing your care and giving consent for medical treatments.

Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney can feel like a daunting decision, but a solicitor can guide you through every aspect of the process to ensure that you’re comfortable with your choices and fully understand what you are agreeing to.

The document will come into force once it has been property registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). It’s important to note that, should there come a point where you change your mind about having an LPA, you can simply cancel it by informing your attorneys and the OPG (providing you still have the mental capacity to do so).

Helping you make life’s big decisions

At Rowberry Morris, our experienced private client solicitors are here to help you get your affairs in order, so you don’t have to worry. Our friendly and compassionate team have years of experience in guiding our clients through life’s more difficult decisions with clarity, sensitivity and discretion. We ensure you have all the information you need and explain every step of the process, so you know where you stand.

If you’d like to talk to one of our solicitors about making a will or setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact your nearest Rowberry Morris office.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.