Put Your Affairs in Order this New Year

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It’s that time of year when many of us decide to make a number of New Year’s Resolutions which mainly involve lifestyle changes such as getting fit, losing weight or drinking less. These are all well and good but what about taking some essential steps to put your affairs in order too?

The team at Swansea Legal Solutions is advising existing and new clients to look at key areas of their personal and financial affairs. The aim is to make sure they have everything in place to keep themselves and their loved ones free from stress during difficult times and when key decisions about someone’s health and well-being need to be made. Here’s what we recommend that you do.

Make or Update Your Will

Whether you’ve already made a will or are thinking of doing so, if you have property or other assets which you plan to pass onto beneficiaries, then you should make it one of your resolutions to get it sorted. 

There are some key triggers which should urge you to make a will include getting married or divorced, acquiring property, having children or setting up in business… to name but a few.

It’s equally important to review and change your will should any of the above life changes occur. 

Believe it or not, an out-of-date will can be just as unhelpful as having no will at all, especially if it no longer suits your family circumstances or your wishes.

Your will should be reviewed at least every four to five years, or sooner if your personal or, in some instances, professional circumstance change. It should also be reviewed if the circumstances of your beneficiaries change too!

And if you have a home-made will, it’s important to have this reviewed too by a will and probate specialist to ensure the terms are as you intended with no loopholes.

Put in Place a Lasting Power of Attorney

Having in place a Lasting Power of Attorney, for both your financial and welfare affairs, is equally, if not more, as important as having a will in place.  This is because:

  • Without a Lasting Power of Attorney, if you lose mental capacity the Court of Protection could appoint someone who you do not wish to act on your behalf in relation to your finances and your health and welfare.
  •  The process of appointing attorneys through the Court of Protection is complex, time-consuming and expensive whereas completing an application for a Lasting Power of Attorney is much more straightforward and far less costly. We do however recommend that you use the services of a specialist organisation to complete the application form to ensure your wishes are wholly respected.
  • A Lasting Power of Attorney gives your attorneys guidance as to how you would like your financial affairs to be managed, your requests in relation to your medical and welfare concerns to be followed and also how your attorneys are able to act, to ensure your wishes are reflected.
  • Once a Lasting Power of Attorney is registered, it can be used by your attorneys as long as they have your consent. This allows your attorneys to help you with decisions in relation to your property and finances. For example, if you are unable to get out of the house or if you are out of the country for business or pleasure, even if you have not lost capacity.

So, in 2023 why not make a New Year’s resolution which will last and put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney, no matter how old you are!

Put in Place an Estate Plan

Everyone knows it’s important and everyone means to get to it at some point. But what most people do not learn until after they have put in place an estate plan is how genuinely good it feels to have it done.

It’s more than getting it off your to-do list. Putting a plan in place that ensures that your property is protected, your wealth is going where you want it to, and that your beneficiaries are going to get what you intended without hassle – and it can be a huge relief.

So we are urging people to take advantage of the annual tradition of making New Year’s resolutions and to contact an estate planner like Swansea Legal Solutions and get the process going, as failing to plan can lead to delay and expense for your family.

If this information has given you food for thought, then why not contact the team at Swansea Legal Solutions by calling 01792 420844.

We offer a range of services including will writing, setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney and estate planning – enabling you to achieve your New Year’s resolutions in a one stop shop. And throughout January 2023 we are offering probate and administration advice from as little as £165 + VAT and 15% off all property trusts.