Benjamin Franklin once said, if there is one certainty in life, it’s death! It’s a subject no one likes to think about but it’s important that people get their affairs in order before it’s too late says Suzy Bhaker the new Head of the Wills and Probate department at Pabla & Pabla solicitors.
Suzy explains ‘I would describe myself as a people person and I enjoy my work. Preparing a Will for a client involves listening to their life history and sometimes hearing their secrets!’ Suzy adds ‘When meeting a client who would like to make a Will, I listen to their particular circumstances and specific wishes in order to prepare a Will that is right for them.’
Sadly, with the Covid 19 pandemic, many loved ones have been lost unexpectedly. Therefore, Suzy would strongly advise anyone who has assets and/ or children now more than ever, to ensure they’ve made a Will as it gives a person the peace of mind that their loved ones are looked after in accordance with their wishes.
When advising clients who are making a Will, Suzy typically asks the following:
- Have you decided who you would and would not like to benefit from your Estate?
- If you have children, would you like them to receive an equal inheritance?
- If you have minor children, have you discussed with your child’s mother/father who would be your children’s Guardian if you both died?
- Are there any family members who you would not like to leave an inheritance to? Without a Will, this could very well happen!
- Who would you like to inherit from your Estate if your first choice of beneficiaries died?
Suzy explains ‘these are often things that people don’t think about and can cause upset or problems for the family left behind. People often leave it too late, die without making a Will which, can complicate things during the Probate process.’
Therefore, it is important to consider your affairs and make a Will. Alternatively, if you already have a Will in place, how long ago did you make it? When was the last time you reviewed it? ‘It is worthwhile reviewing your existing Will to ensure that it still meets with your wishes and that there have been no changes in your circumstances since you last made your Will’ advises Suzy.
It is also important to ensure that you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place too. If you became so unwell that you couldn’t manage your own day to day affairs, who would you trust to pay your bills and access your bank accounts to pay for your essentials like food and toiletries? Do you have specific wishes regarding your health in the event that you were too ill to communicate your wishes with a medical professional? Would you like your loved ones to make decisions on your behalf and do what they thought was best for you and what you would want? An LPA is a legal document that you can put in place now so that if you ill a person or people that you have trust and confidence in will be able to act on your behalf regarding your property and finances and/or make decisions regarding your health and welfare.
Suzy adds ‘It can make life extremely complicated if a person does not have an LPA in place and it can leave the family who are frequently left to pick up the pieces in a big mess. They often then have no other alternative but to apply for a Court Order from the Court of Protection to manage matters on their loved one’s behalf such as managing their money and selling property. Suzy explains ‘This is a costly and lengthy procedure which clients frequently find difficult to deal with alongside coming to terms with their loved one being mentally incapable. It can all be avoided if an LPA is put in place while a person is well. ’
Even people who think that they are comparatively fit and healthy should give very serious consideration for the need for an LPA now more than ever, as 2020 has reminded us all that life is unpredictable and we shouldn’t take our health for granted.
Pabla and Pabla Solicitors provide the following services in the Private Client sector:
- Making a New Will or amending your existing Will
- Lasting Power of Attorney
- Court of Protection
- Tax Advice