What is a lasting power of attorney ?

Reasons to Have a Lasting Power of Attorney

It is quite common for people to turn over their belongings to a trusted friend or family member just in case something horrible were to happen to them. This is called a power of attorney. Basically, what this means is that if we were ever to get too sick to handle our affairs, a trusted friend or family member would be able to take over our bank account as well as other items that we may have. They would be able to sign a check in our behalf. They would usually be required to be on our bank account so that they could withdraw funds in order to take care of our affairs. It feels good to know that we can turn everything over to someone else just in case.

Of course, we would not have to worry about doing all of the necessary paperwork on our deathbed. Instead, we would take care of the paperwork ahead of time. By doing this, we would know for certain that everything would be in proper order. There are many cases where only one person in the marriage has been named on the deed of the home. If that person were to pass away, the other person may be required to leave the home forever. This would be devastating to think that the home we had lived in for our entire married life could be gone from our life in the blink of an eye. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to have a family law attorney take over the situation so that we can name someone as a power of attorney over our affairs.

Most people are under the impression that they have a lot of time left in this world. Therefore, they take their time and they wait until they think that their life is going to be ending before they decide to take action. This is never a good idea. We never know when we are going to be involved in an automobile accident or some other accident or event. Our life could change quite drastically before we ever knew what happened.

We can name anyone we like as our power of attorney. It could be a friend or family member or even a next-door neighbor. It is important to make a wise decision when deciding who to choose. After all, this person is going to have access to all of our personal affairs. We want to make sure that our home as well as our family are completely taken care of. We should also assign someone to take care of our young children just in case anything were to ever happen.

Darlingtons Solicitors provide cost effective legal advice on power of attorney  if you require further assistance.

Probate costs

Probate Solicitors fees

There are many myths about what Solicitors charge for obtaining a Grant of Probate (or in the absence of a Will, Letters of Administration)

Who can apply for a Grant ?

Of course family members can do the work themselves, but very often they choose not to; why, because there is some antagonism between the members of the family, their lack of knowledge of the process or the simple fact that many people find the process distressing after having lost a loved one and would prefer a “detached” person to do the work (and it is a very difficult time to shop around and find the “best price”)

What needs to be done ?

To obtain a Grant of Probate, requires presentation of documents to the Inheritance Tax Office if the Estate is liable to pay Tax and then preparing papers for the Court. To do this requires the fullest enquiries to be made about the Estate , that is the assets held by the person who died [Property (land) Bank or Building Society Accounts, Premium Bonds Cars, and any other assets of value [even if you give away clothes to a Charity Shop, Inland Revenue can ask for details] and on the other side, obtain details of any debts and once the Inheritance Tax (if any) and debts are paid, the remaining assets are divided according to the Will or the Law of Intestacy (where there is no Will)

What documents ?

This will depend on whether there is a Will and what assets there are – some Estates are very simple, only involving one property and a Bank Account (which may be in joint names) who the beneficiaries are and what the value of the Estate is and whether Inheritance Tax is to be paid

Do I need a Solicitor ?

Usually the answer is “yes” as the Solicitor can take away the distress of dealing personally with the Estate and can advise on other relevant matters, such as whether there are circumstances which suggest a Deed of Variation might benefit the Estate, by reducing the Inheritance Tax due and the Solicitor is more competent to deal with complications that could arise

Should I use a Bank or other Institution ?

Non-family administrators of an Estate are usually Banks or Solicitors. Banks usually charge a percentage of the value of the Estate, so if the Estate is small in terms of assets and complexity but valuable, the Bank fee will be large whereas if the deceased had a number of small Bank Accounts, but of little total value, the Bank won’t get paid very much

What will you charge ?

Sometimes we charge a percentage of the estate, sometimes a fixed fee. The key point is, we offer a flexible approach based on the complexity and work involved, with every case assessed on a bespoke basis.

This is a guest post from Pinchos Rabin of Darlingtons. Get in touch with Darlingtons if you need legal advice on probate or for making your will.

The importance of wills

Where there is a will…

A recent survey carried out by an insurance company, Standard Life, shows that 60% of the UK population does not have a will and more than 25% of the over 65’s are yet to make one.

What is a will?

A will is a legal document distributing the assets after the testator’s (person who makes the will) death. By making a will you can decide what happens to your possessions after your death, who will benefit from them and how they should be distributed. There is no legal obligation to make a will nor is it necessary to use a solicitor, and there are some very good products now for making a will online yourself but if a person dies without one, their assets will be distributed according to the intestacy rules in an order established by the law and dependent on their personal circumstances.

Why should you make a will?

  • If you are part of an unmarried couple and want to provide for your partner after your death
  • If you want the distribution of your assets after your death to be your personal decision and provide for your family or friends
  • If you are divorced and want to provide for your former spouse
  • If you want to ensure that you do not pay more Inheritance Tax than necessary

If there is no will

If there is no will intestacy rules will apply. Intestacy occurs when someone dies without making a valid will and their property (estate) will be distributed according to the statutory intestacy rules. The intestacy can be total where no will was left or partial where some but not all of the property is disposed of by a will. If you are married or you are in a civil partnership and you have children then the first £250,000 of your estate (if it is worth more than £250,000) will go to your wife or husband and they will be entitled to interest on half of the rest of it. The remaining half of the estate will go to your children unless it is worth less than £250,000 in which case your children will receive nothing, If you are married but have no children then your spouse will receive the first £450,000 of your estate (if it is worth more than £450,000) and interest in half the remaining estate. The situation is even more complicated if you are not married but you are in a relationship and live together.

How to make a will?

There are certain formalities which need to be complied with in order for the will to be valid such as that the will is in writing and signed by at least 2 witnesses. For some more complex wills it is advisable to seek legal help but you can draft a will yourself. If you do write your will yourself make sure that none of your beneficiaries helps you in drafting it and that your witnesses are not interested in benefiting from the will. It is important to keep a will up-to-date especially after any major changes in your circumstances such as getting divorced, married or having a child.

Where there is a will there is less trouble

You want to have control over your money during lifetime, ideally without having to pay taxes or other mandatory charges. There is no reason why you should not be able to have influence on what happens to your money and possessions after you die. Making a will is a way of deciding who receives your estate when you are no longer around and however difficult it might seem to draft a will it is necessary if you want your loved ones to inherit your lifetime savings and the fruits of your hard work.