The Roman Philosopher, Seneca, wrote over 2000 years ago: “Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes and denies us the present by promising the future”.
The reason most people give for not having a Will or Power of Attorney is quite simply, procrastination- they mean to do it but never get around to it. Thinking about Estate Planning is often uncomfortable and a task that no one wants to think about, especially if we are enjoying good health and a happy life. Life, however, has a way of throwing up situations that may be hard to face including sudden illness, infirmity or death. Estate Planning is a means by which to put in place the things that are important to you. It is a checklist documenting your wishes for your loved ones and gives you peace of mind that you have made provision for whatever comes around that corner.
So, how do you put your affairs in order? Here are some questions to consider:
Who do you want to inherit your estate on your death?
Making a Will is the only way to make sure your estate will go where you wish after your death. If you have a spouse or partner, and especially if you have young children, it is the best way of making sure that they are provided for. If you die without leaving a Will, your estate will not necessarily all go to your spouse or partner. Scots Law specifies how much should go to each of your relatives and the result may not be what you would wish. The surviving spouse or partner may be left facing lengthy delays and financial hardship. Even if you have no family you will want to make sure that your possessions are passed on in accordance with your wishes, perhaps to friends or to charities which you supported during your lifetime, rather than to distant relatives or to the Crown.
Who will manage your affairs if you are no longer able to do so yourself?
A Power of Attorney is a written document giving someone else authority to take actions or make decisions on your behalf. You choose the person(s) you want to help you and what powers the Attorney should have. Under a Continuing Power of Attorney, you appoint individual(s) who can assist in dealing with your financial affairs if you are unwilling or incapable of doing so. Under a Welfare Power of Attorney your Attorney(s) deals with matters relating to your personal welfare such as decisions about your care, accommodation and medical treatment. Such welfare decisions would only be made by your Attorney(s) if a doctor certifies that you have become unable to give your own instructions. If you do not have a Power of Attorney and become incapable of giving instructions or signing your name, it may be necessary to have a Guardian appointed by the Court to deal with your affairs. This process can be expensive and time consuming.
Do your family know your wishes with regard to medical treatment if you are not able to give instructions?
A Living Will is an advance directive allowing you to detail your wishes regarding the kind of medical treatment you may wish or not wish to receive in the event if subsequent loss of capacity to decide or communicate. A Living Will consists of a formal declaration requesting that life prolonging measures be withheld in circumstances where there is no prospect of recovery.
Will Aid - November 2018
Rollos are set to take part in Will Aid month this November. Will Aid is an annual fundraising campaign that involves our Solicitors drawing up your will and instead of charging a fee as usual, we ask for a voluntary donation to charity. Will Aid is a special partnership between the legal profession and nine of the UK’s best-loved charities. Vital funds are raised for these wonderful causes, while ensuring that people in the UK gain the reassurance of knowing they have a professionally written Will.
If you are looking for a Solicitor to write or change your will and would like to support Will Aid, please contact your local office or visit www.rollos.co.uk.