Gretchen Betts, Managing Director of Magenta Financial Planning talks about why, more than ever, it’s important to talk about your financial planning in case the worst should happen.
We’re now two months into lockdown and it’s great to see people adapting so well to our “new normal” and feeling quite safe inside their homes. However, as we start to hear talk of ending lockdown and what this will mean, it’s important that we as financial planners continue to do our job – and ensure that our clients are fully organised and prepared for the bad things life can deliver, as well as the joy and happiness.
Gretchen, left, with the talented Magenta team
That is why we want to stress the importance (possibly even more so now) of ensuring that your Wills are up to date, and you have completed your Lasting Powers of Attorney documents.
If you are confident that everything is in order, then you can congratulate yourself for being in only 35% of the British public having made a Will and less than 20% who have Powers of Attorney.
If these legal issues are still outstanding, then you (and/or your loved ones) really should consider how you can get these in place – even in times of social distancing.
Julie Lord and Gretchen Betts
When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy. A person who dies without leaving a Will is called an intestate person and the highlights of the Intestacy rules – meaning your money may not go where you wanted it to, or in worst case scenarios where you have no family, the estate would pass to the Crown! Would you not prefer this to be left to charity?
In addition to who would benefit from your estate, there’s also the complexity of managing an estate of someone who hasn’t nominated executors and leaving your family without clear directions can be very difficult for those left behind.
If you haven’t made a Will yet – and want to do this urgently, many local solicitors are still working remotely and you can make an enquiry online. However, in an emergency, you can write your wishes down and leave these in a safe place. This isn’t usually recommended over having a legal document drawn up professionally, but these are very unprecedented times.
To be a valid and legal Will, certain conditions have to be met; including, among other key things, your signature being witnessed by two people (at a distance!).
You can find these details about the requirements of making the document valid and legal from Citizens Advice or the Money Advice Service.
No Lasting Powers of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people (known as ‘Attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if, for example, you have an accident or an illness.
Many people think that if something happens to them in the future and they can’t make their own decisions about issues such as finances, property, healthcare or personal care, for example, their family or friends can simply take over. This isn’t the case!
Just as you need to make a will to determine what will happen to your assets when you die, you need to put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place if you want to make the decision yourself as to what will happen to you if you lose mental capacity. There are two types of Power of Attorney to deal with different aspects of your life: property and affairs and personal welfare.
We believe it is important that you appoint Attorneys who you trust to understand and carry out your wishes when it comes to your money and your personal care and that you discuss your wishes with them in detail or at least write these down for them.
These documents can also be arranged via a local solicitor, or if you feel confident enough you can also set these up yourself, direct with HMRC online.
That’s enough of the doom and gloom! We hope you are keeping well and happy but do encourage to think about the above if you haven’t already.
Gretchen Betts CFPCM Chartered FSCI
Certified Financial Planner
Chartered Wealth Manager
Magenta Financial Planning
One Court Road
Bridgend CF31 1BE
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