Arguably the most significant difference between childhood and adulthood is that as adults, the default assumption in most cases is that we have the ability and the authority to take our own decisions about how we want to live our lives. We also have responsibility for dealing with the consequences of them. There are times, however, when we’re unable to act for ourselves and it is strongly recommended to think about those times and what we should do about them.
While it is theoretically possible to use any one of a number of channels to communicate your wishes with regard to what you would like to happen to your estate after your death, a legally-valid will is by far the most strongly recommended. Quite simply a well-drafted will makes it clear who should receive what and how (for example directly or via a trust). The drafting of a will can also be a helpful part of the process of succession planning, in other words, making sure that you leave as much as possible to the people and causes of your choice, rather than HMRC.
Will writing is not part of the Intrinsic offering and is different in our own right. Intrinsic accept no responsibility for this aspect of our business
Powers of Attorney
While the principle of delegation has probably been around for as long as humanity, the importance of appointing a delegate to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated has grown significantly over recent years as lifespans have extended and lifestyles have changed. At current time, there are three, legally-recognized, ways of granting someone the authority to make decisions and take actions on your behalf, in the event that you are unable to do so.
Ordinary Power of Attorney is used when an individual only requires temporary assistance, for example during a period of ill health from which they are expected to recover.
Enduring Power of Attorney was used up until 1st October 2007, at which point they were replaced by lasting power of attorney. Basically, Enduring Power of Attorney works in much the same way as a Property and Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) replaced Enduring Power of Attorney and it comes in two forms: Health and Welfare LPA and Property and Financial Affairs LPA. The former empowers your representatives to take decisions regarding your health and wellbeing if you become unable to do so. The latter allows them to take decisions relating to your money and your property, up to and including selling your home. Unlike the Health and Welfare LPA, a Property and Financial affairs LPA can be used straight away, even while you are still capable of managing other matters - but only with your consent.
Making a Power of Attorney work for you
There are basically two aspects to making any kind of Power of Attorney work for you. One is getting the right attorney (or attorney’s) and the other is giving them clear guidance as to your wishes. When considering the former, as well as thinking about how well you know a person, how much you trust them and to what extent you have confidence in their judgement, it’s also a good idea to think about how much time they would have available if you needed them. When considering the latter, think about how you can give them clear guidance so that they are in a position to act as you would have wished, even if they have to take decisions quickly. Unless they have a clear indication of your wishes and expectations, there is a very good chance that they will end up taking decisions based on what they themselves would have wanted in that situation, which may be very different from what you want. Hence, as is so often the case in life, communication is crucial.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate on Power of Attorney, will writing, Estate Planning and Trusts.