An Introduction to Legal Planning
This could be the most important four minutes you spend in your life, which could be of enormous benefit to friends, family and not least, you.
So please discover how important Legal Planning is. There is more detailed information below. Our Free Guide to Probate is here.
More on: How to Avoid Probate
- Wills and what happens if there is no valid Last Will and testament.
- Powers of Attorney
- Court of Protection – where you end up without the Right Power of Attorney in place.
- Unmarried couples
- Death Benefits, Life Insurance and Pensions.
- Personal Injury Trusts
- Protecting vulnerable children and adults.
- Protecting you business (and employees!)
- Ongoing review, storage, and more – the Peace of Mind Service.
- Inheritance Tax Planning
- Investment Properties IHT & CGT Planning
- Give the house to the kids?
- Asset Protection
- Deeds of Variation.
- Wealth Planning
- Things to do before you die.
What is Legal Planning?
Legal Planning is all about protecting yourself and your family from some of the things that can and will go wrong in life and after. Before you were born, your parents will have hopefully have had Wills in place to protect you and appoint Guardians and Executors to look after you should anything happen to them before you reach the age of 18, at which point most people (but not all) will have the legal ability to look after their own welfare and finances.
Before that, your parents are going to be responsible for you and they need to have Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney in place to manage their finances so that you can be looked after again if need be.
From 18 you’re on your own, your parents no longer have any rights to look after your health, welfare or finances if you are unfortunate enough not to have the ability to make decisions yourself temporarily or permanently. An accident or stroke would mean that it’s off to the Court of Protection. Hopefully, your parents or another family member will be appointed as your “Deputy.” The deputy manages your life under the ongoing supervision of the Court of Protection. That is an expensive and complicated process so let’s hope it never happens to anyone in your family. Lasting Powers of Attorney are REALLY important – contact us and we will pass you on to our recommended advisers if you don’t have both types.
So at the age of 18, you should write your first Will. You should certainly have both types of Lasting Power of Attorney in place so that you decide who is going to look up to you all welfare and you finances if anything goes wrong. Why? Because it’s not going be your parents. It’s not going to be your girlfriend. It is not going to be your wife. Unless of course, you have the Lasting Powers of Attorney in place in advance. One of the big issues with the Court of Protection is that they don’t know you, or your family, so they may well appoint a solicitor or the local Social Services Department to run your life (at your expense of course). What they are very unlikely to do is even consider appointing anyone who is not a family member, however many years they might have lived together.
Who should be your Attorney
(under the Lasting Power of Attorney) is a moveable feast. Over the years it might vary from your parents, your first, second, and third girlfriend/ boyfriend/ partner/ spouse. Then your children as they get older and (perhaps) more sensible and then maybe even your grandchildren when your children have retired.
Another moveable feast – your Last Will and testament.
All of the previous paragraph applies, as does the issue of Guardians for children. Whether the Guardians remain suitable needs to be kept under review – they may have moved, married, gone potty etc! Whom should your Will look after financially? Are they responsible? Would your other half remarry? Should your children benefit, or are they already well off but the grandchildren or great-grandchildren need help.
What about the Executor?
Executors need to be responsible, good at admin, have the time to deal with things, and be young enough (when you die, not when you write the Will) to deal with potentially complicated matters at a difficult time. They can, of course, just pick up the phone and delegate all or part of the work to our recommended advisers!
All of these are questions that need to be reviewed at least yearly, which is why we endorse the Will Custodian Peace of Mind Service.
Inheritance Tax Planning.
Maybe you get a bit better off later on, and Inheritance Tax could start to be an issue. Many people pay IHT or complicate their estates needlessly because they don’t take advice in time. We have a specialist service that helps with IHT Planning and taxable estates. Trusts, lifetime gifting patterns, and all sorts of other issues may become important.
At the end of the day, if your Legal Planning is not kept under review, by the time you get to 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and older things could be in pretty pickle. You are at risk, your children are at risk, and your spouse or partner is at risk. Your intentions could the frustrated because what planning you have set up (many years ago) and in very different legal and family circumstances. So join the Peace of Mind Service to stay in regular touch. We can then help to keep you organized throughout life and make sure that your life counts something for future generations.