Legal Health Check

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SIPP & SSAS Article

19 August, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted many people to review their situation and to make sure that their personal affairs are in order. If you want to give yourself a personal legal "health check" what should you be looking for?

Will

One of the most important documents that you can put in place to protect your loved ones is a Will. Even if you feel that you don't have a lot to leave or that your situation is straightforward, it pays to have a Will in place. A Will allows you to provide direction and certainty for your family. In particular, a Will can deal with the following:

  • Appoint Executors who will have immediate authority to deal with your financial affairs and sort out your estate. Without a Will, your family may need to apply to the Court for Letters of Administration even to deal with relatively straight forward matters.
  • Make it clear who is to inherit what from your estate.
  • Include trusts to protect assets, either from a potential remarriage or for vulnerable or wayward beneficiaries.
  • Make best use of tax reliefs from inheritance tax.

Financial Affairs

It is important to have your finances in order to make things easier for your family or beneficiaries after you have gone. Some assets are not covered by your Will, such as pensions and some life assurance policies. It is important that you make sure that your pension provider is aware of your wishes for any pension funds and that you have reviewed the benefits that will be paid on death and how and to whom you would like them paid to. If you have life policies written in trust, make sure that the trustees are aware of the trust. If any of the trustees are no longer alive or suitable, you should take steps to change the trustees and update the records with the life assurance company. This will help things run smoothly if/when it comes to making the claim.

Advanced Care Planning

Whilst it is important to have plans in place for death, it is increasingly important to think about what would happen if you were taken ill. Lasting Powers of Attorney can be put in place to appoint attorneys who would deal with your financial affairs if you were unable to do so yourself. You can also appoint attorneys to make decisions on your behalf about your health and care. These attorneys can be different and you can appoint different attorneys to deal with different aspects (e.g. you could appoint attorneys to manage a business and different attorneys to manage your personal finances). You can also put in place advance directives or give guidance to your attorneys on your wishes in respect of care and medical treatment.

For more information contact Victoria Motley in our Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts department via email or phone on 01772 220 022. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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