Last Updated on 28.7.23 by Almas Patankar
You may well have seen the news that renowned TV presenter Fiona Phillips has sadly been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the surprisingly young age of 62.
We heard many similar stories when we attended the Stockport Town Hall for Dementia Awareness Week. Family members of those suffering from the disease spoke about the challenges that come with the condition, not just for the sufferer but for their family too.
It highlighted the pressing need for us to arrange our affairs while we’re still capable of doing so, offering peace of mind during challenging times for ourselves and our loved ones.
In this guide to getting your affairs in order, we’ll delve into two essential legal documents that should be in place.
Why a Lasting Power of Attorney is Crucial in Getting Your Affairs in Order
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a critical part of getting your affairs in order. This legal document allows someone else to make decisions on your behalf while you’re alive. It can cover your property and finances, as well as your health and welfare.
Your attorney, someone you trust implicitly and who is over 18, can help manage your financial affairs and make medical decisions in your best interest. Your attorney will be able to assist you with things such as managing your bank accounts (like the payment of your bills and benefits) and making medical decisions (provided that those decisions are in your best interest and only where you’re unable to make your own decisions regarding your health).
However, LPAs can only be set up while you still have the mental capacity to understand the implications. If capacity is lost, your loved ones would need to apply for a Deputy Order through the court, a process that can be costly and time-consuming.
That’s why getting your affairs in order by creating an LPA is highly recommended while you still have capacity.
For more information see our blog: Lasting Power of Attorney – Why it’s important to act early.
Getting Your Affairs in Order: The Importance of a Will
Getting your affairs in order also involves creating a Will, a legal document that decides who will inherit your estate after your death. Your Will is an incredibly important document because it’s the only way for you to direct what happens to your assets after you pass away. Dying without a Will means your estate will be divided according to law (known as the intestacy rules), which dictate that your surviving family members inherit your estate in a prescribed order.
When getting your affairs in order, a Will can provide clarity and comfort, documenting your wishes regarding your assets’ distribution. It can include your funeral wishes, the appointment of guardians for minor children, gifts to friends or charities, and the stipulation of inheritance age for children or grandchildren.
As with an LPA, a Will can only be created or amended while you have the mental capacity to understand it.
What does ”Capacity” mean?
Capacity here means your ability to weigh and understand the nature of the document, your family circumstances and the value of your estate. If you’re starting to lose your capacity, you should look to create a Will or ensure your current one is up to date and set up an LPA as soon as possible. This won’t be possible once you lose capacity and the process will become much more complicated, both for you and your loved ones.
For more information about the process of getting your affairs in order, including setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Will, please get in touch with our Private Client department at Gorvins on 0161 930 5151 or email us at email@example.com