With only a fortnight of 2014 remaining it may be time to consider those New Year’s resolutions again. Laying off the turkey and mince pies after a few weeks of festive overindulgence shouldn’t be too hard but for some there are a couple of important things more likely to get left to the side than a plate of overcooked sprouts.
Although statistics would suggest every person reading this will kick the bucket sooner or later, two thirds of adults in Britain do not currently have a Will, either because they don’t want to think about it or because they believe it doesn’t affect them. Some people assume that everything will happen as they wish because their family knows what they want, however, the queues on Boxing Day to return unwanted gifts would suggest otherwise.
Without a Will in place, it is actually the government that decides who inherits your estate and last year the Treasury swiped £53m from people who died intestate. Making a Will can inspire anxiety in some who are haunted by visions of the reaper looming large over them when time comes to sign on the dotted line, however, providing security for your family and loved ones is the most important thing you will do in 2015 and can save years of infighting between every relative you’ve never met.
When writing your Will seeking the advice of a solicitor can save heaps of stress. The law surrounding inheritance is complicated and solicitors will be able to help you make the best choices. Common issues with self-written Wills, like using the wrong witnesses or forgetting to have it signed could also mean that the Will is completely unusable when it is needed. Solicitors are also regulated so you’re protected if something does go wrong.
So we know that having an current Will can make life far simpler for your family and friends when you die, but if you fall ill or have an accident during your lifetime and can no longer manage your own affairs having a Lasting Power of Attorney can help you or a loved one have themselves and their affairs taken care of when they are no longer able to do so themselves. An LPA may sound like something you only need to think about when you become elderly and frail, but it’s never too early to consider.
Because we are living longer, a greater number of people are likely to become physically or mentally incapable and there are predicted to be a million people with dementia in the UK by 2025. Other morbid stuff like brain injuries, strokes, and Parkinson’s disease can affect someone’s ability to make their own decisions and last year alone over 250,000 LPAs were registered in Britain.
Long after the decorations have come down and the Christmas party is just a distant and embarrassing memory you can move forward knowing that you have provided security for yourself and your family. There is no better New Year stress reliever.