The world is pretty scary right now, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about the future. We’ve avoided posting anything about making wills or end-of-life care lately, because nobody needs reminding about the worst case scenario, but, as it turns out, we’ve had a lot of enquiries from people wanting help with these issues over the past few weeks, so perhaps it is something we should be putting out in the open and facing up to. So many of us feel powerless and confused and anxious about the developing Coronavirus situation, and it’s natural to seek out ways of feeling more in control about such an unknown and unfamiliar situation. For some, that means having peace of mind if the worst did happen.
As solicitors, we are considered key workers when it comes to handling wills and probate, so we are very much still working while the rest of the country goes into shutdown. So if you don’t have an up-to-date will, or lasting powers of attorney, and would like to feel a bit more secure about an uncertain future, we can help.
Besides, digging through your paperwork and getting your affairs in order can be a welcome distraction from the world outside! Here’s everything you need to get started:
First off, contact your solicitor to talk about making a will and LPA arrangements, and to get a comprehensive list of all the information you’ll need.
If you need to make a will, you’ll be asked to put together a list of assets and liabilities, and the names of the person or persons you’d like to be the executor of your will, along with any dependents or beneficiaries.
If you already have a will, it’s worth checking if it needs updating – any major life changes require an update, for example: new additions to the family, inheriting money or property, starting a business, getting married or divorced.
A well-made will also helps you to reduce your inheritance tax bill and allows you to set down any preferences for funeral arrangements, along with all the little details that might otherwise be overlooked, for example: who you’d like to look after your pets.
While you’re sorting your will, you might also consider making arrangements for Lasting Powers of Attorney – another reassuring way to safeguard your future – enabling you to appoint a representative to act on your behalf should you find yourself unable to make decisions in the future. There are two forms of LPA available: one for Health and Welfare, and another for Property and Finances. Your solicitor will be able to guide you through the process and help you make practical decisions that will protect your assets and your wellbeing for the future.
End of life planning is something we tend to shy away from, quite understandably! But perhaps a better way to look at it is as a form of insurance. Your will and LPA arrangements are there to protect you and your loved ones in the future. Hopefully they won’t be needed for a very long time indeed, but it can be reassuring to know that they’re in place. And in a time when everything feels so uncertain, you can at least take control of this small aspect of things.
For more information on drawing up a will, updating a will, or arranging lasting powers of attorney, get in touch with our Wills & Probate team at Frances Lindsay & Co. While our offices are currently closed, we are still able to hold telephone or FaceTime appointments, or discuss your situation via email.
Or read our full guide to end-of-life planning, ‘Putting Your Affairs in Order’, here.