Many people do not understand the consequences of failing to make a will, nor of the benefits that a Power of Attorney can bring. Not making a Will can be very damaging to the interests of family, dependants and beneficiaries because it can affect the tax burden imposed upon them by government legislation. That legislation can also mean that property may go to those you would not wish to have it.
A Will can dictate who gets what and who doesn’t get what they might expect. It can influence your funeral arrangements, set out who (by prior agreement) will take care of your children, make special provisions for particular people or good causes, and appoint named persons to take charge of your affairs (called “Executors”).
Lasting Powers of Attorney are a way of giving total or limited control of one’s property and affairs and also (if you wish) one’s personal welfare to a trusted relative or professional person in the event of mental incapacity brought on by an accident or medical condition or just advancing years. Legal advice obtained from an experienced solicitor can prove invaluable in drawing up a Will that removes complications which sometimes arise after the person has died, and one which takes full advantage of Inheritance Tax allowances for the beneficiaries.
Neither a Will nor a Lasting Power of Attorney is set in stone whilst you have the mental capacity to change either one. Both documents can give you peace of mind however, providing they have been drawn up by a qualified solicitor, you can have them modified to reflect changing circumstances. To many people the thought of making a Will or a Power of Attorney seems like signing away their lives. However, both steps are a serious expression of care and concern for loved ones who will have to supervise your affairs when you are no longer able to handle them yourself.