As you grow older, it’s natural to want to put your affairs into order. You may have not previously taken active steps around estate planning but it’s never too late to do so.
- If you have a will in place it’s a good idea to review it at least every five years and update it as necessary. If you do not, it is important that you make one now, to avoid your estate being distributed in a way that might not be in line with your wishes.
- Putting a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place enables you to appoint a trusted person or persons to make decisions on your behalf about your health and welfare and your property and finances in the event that you lose capacity to do so for yourself.
- An LPA, which must be made before you lose mental capacity, avoids the need for costly and time-consuming legal proceedings to unfreeze your assets if you are unable to manage your own affairs in the event of a debilitating illness or medical condition such as dementia. It can also ensure that your chosen family members can make binding decisions about your care and medical treatment
- Alternatively, an advance decision or living will can be used to make sure your wishes about your future care and medical treatment – as well as decisions on issues such as where you live or your diet and daily routines – are respected, should you lose capacity.
- Setting up a trust in your lifetime: creating a trust and gifting manageable amounts into it, whether on a one off or regular basis, can be a useful inheritance tax planning tool.
- Protecting your home and other assets for family members in the future, in case you require long-term care. While care must be taken not to infringe deprivation of assets rules, which allow local authorities to bring assets they deem to have been deliberately given away back into means test assessments for care home fees, obtaining the correct advice at the right time can significantly reduce the extent to which your assets are exposed to the risk of future care costs.
For more information on our estate planning services, please contact us.