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Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney

Wills

We encourage every client to make a Will and to review their existing Wills to make sure that they still meet their needs and are still effective in the ever-changing legal world.

In your Will you should specify who you would like to deal with your estate after your death and how you would like it to be distributed. If you die without having made a valid Will, the law steps in to dictate how your estate is to be distributed (known as the Intestacy Rules) and the results may not reflect your wishes. This is particularly true for single people, unmarried couples, divorcees and those with blended families.

Making a Will need not be a daunting experience. We will discuss your family and financial circumstances as well as your wishes and help you to make a Will that achieves the results that you want. Whether you need a simple Will to direct your estate to your spouse or civil partner and you children, or a more complex arrangement including trusts, we can assist you.

We recommend that you have your Will drawn up by a solicitor, rather than attempting to prepare your own Will at home or using a “Will Writing” service. Poorly drafted Wills can be difficult and costly to administer and can lead to unintended consequences and potential disputes after your death. The regulatory and insurance obligations on solicitors (as opposed to other similar service providers) will give you added peace of mind.

We prefer to meet with you to oversee signature of the Will and to confirm that the correct formalities are observed. By arrangement, we are able to make visits to you at your home, care home, hospice or hospital if necessary.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

In a Lasting Power of Attorney, you choose who you would like to be able to make decisions on your behalf. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney and you can have either one or both.They allow your attorney(s) to act for you even if you become mentally incapable of making decisions for yourself, and so they are an important tool when planning for the future. There are lots of things to think about when making either type of Lasting Power of Attorney and we can help to guide you through the process to ensure that your wishes are clear.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions allows your attorney(s) to stand in your shoes and to deal with your property and finances on your behalf. It can be used as soon as it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian but only with your consent. This can be helpful if you are unwell or on holiday for an extended period of time. You can put the Lasting Power of Attorney away after registration safe in the knowledge that if you ever lose capacity to make decisions for yourself, there. By making a Lasting Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions, you are not giving up your own power to make decisions for yourself.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Care Decisions allows your attorney(s) to make decisions about matters such as medical treatment and where you will live. It can only be used after it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and then only if you are unable to make the decision for yourself.

Some people assume that Lasting Powers of Attorney are just for older people, but that is not the case. You can only make a Lasting Power of Attorney while you have the capacity to understand what you are doing and so we recommend that you do not wait. If you lose capacity to make decisions for yourself, whether as a result of a gradual decline in your health or a sudden unforeseen health problem or injury, you will want the people that you have chosen to be able to assist you straight away. If you have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney, an application must be made to the Court of Protection to appoint someone to act on your behalf. This is a lengthy and expensive process and the person that the Court chooses to act for you may not be the person that you would have chosen for yourself.

We can offer you advice and guidance concerning your choice of attorneys and the powers that you are granting to them, as well as preparing the paperwork and dealing with registration at the Office of the Public Guardian. Once registered, we will send you certified copies of the documents to keep at home and store the originals in our strongroom for safekeeping.

If you are interested in making a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney, please contact Claire Beard or Richard Engel.

If you would like us to draft your Will please click here to view our Will Questionnaire (pdf format) and email it to us, or bring it with you at your first appointment.

Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA ID: 389678). Max Engel is the trading name of Max Engel & Co LLP a limited liability partnership (Members: R E Engel, H L Carville and S G Lawson) registered in England, registered number: OC 305962. Registered office: 8 Hazelwood Road, Northampton NN1 1lP. VAT Number: 119 4485 55.

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