A 2020 study by Canada Life found that 59% of UK adults did not have a Will in place, which equates to 31 million people. Similarly, according to a recent 2,000 person survey by Canada Life, they found that 78% of UK adults do not have a registered Lasting Powers of Attorney. Since the beginning of the pandemic this has improved slightly, however the majority of UK adults still do not seem to see the importance of having a Will or Lasting Powers of Attorney. I have often had this discussion with members of my family and the majority have the attitude of “I will get to it later” or “I don’t want to think about it”, however you don’t know what could be around the corner.
Dying without a Will can make an already heart-breaking time for your family even more difficult. By having a relatively simple conversation with a will writer or estate planner, you can give yourselves and your family peace of mind. If you die without writing a Will in England and Wales, your property and money will be shared out according to a legal default, rather than your own expressed wishes. It doesn’t matter how close you were to certain relatives in your lifetime, your assets will pass according to the same intestacy rules as anyone else. For example, if you are in a relationship with children and unmarried and you die intestate, your partner will not inherit anything, and your children will inherit your full estate once they turn 18.
Whilst a Will is only activated on death, LPAs allow your attorneys to deal with your affairs whilst you are still alive. Losing capacity can happen to anyone at any age. Most people would probably associate losing capacity with developing a condition such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This is not the case. Something such as being in a car accident or suffering a brain injury can render someone mentally incapacitated. There is a common misconception that your ‘next of kin’ can make decisions for you. However, without a Lasting Power of Attorney, nobody can make enforceable decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
The process of appointing attorneys is very straightforward. When you (the ‘Donor’) are appointing attorneys, it is important that you choose someone that you trust to act in your best interests. Anyone can act as an attorney on the condition that they are aged 18 or over and have mental capacity. Many people choose their spouse, partner or children to act as their attorney, however it does not have to be a family member. Professionals, such as a solicitor or a trust corporation, can act on your behalf but this would incur professional charges. To enable an LPA to be used, each document must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) which currently costs £82 per document. There are two types of LPA; Health & Welfare and Property & Financial Affairs.
For further details on making and registering LPAs, please visit the following link:
If you are interested in speaking to someone regarding a Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney, please visit the following link to find a local SWW Member: