Whether the relationships in your life are complicated or straightforward, planning for unforeseen events can help you to relax and enjoy the life you have.
If you are married and live with your spouse and your children, then there may be no obvious need for lifetime planning. However, should you be affected by a loss of capacity, it is generally not the case that your spouse can automatically step into your shoes and operate your finances and make decisions about your care.
If you have not made a Will, it may not even be the case that your estate would be distributed after your death in the way that you might think. Depending on the size and value of your estate, your spouse may not be entitled to as much of it as you were expecting. He or she may even need to sell the family home after your death to be able to pay the share due to the other family members entitled in your intestacy.
If you are cohabiting with your partner then, not only do you have no automatic legal right to operate their financial affairs should they lose their mental capacity, cohabiting partners and stepchildren have no automatic succession entitlement under the current law.
If you want to provide anything at all from your estate for your cohabiting partner or stepchildren after your death, then it is absolutely essential to make a Will. Many of our clients thought that they had rights by virtue of being ‘common law’ wives or husbands. In fact this is not a concept recognised by English law.
We know from our many years’ experience practising in this area of the law, that everyone’s personal life is unique and has its own complications. We have an expert team of private client lawyers who can help our clients of all ages to put in place both a Plan B for their lifetime and a Plan A for their family after their death, in both cases tailored to their individual circumstances.
Our Private Client lawyers work very closely with our Private Family lawyers. Together we can offer the following services which many of our clients wish to consider relatively early in their lifetime in any event and which most of our clients specifically wish us to address at times of material changes in their circumstances, typically following the birth of a child, a marriage, divorce or cohabitation arrangement:
- Lasting Powers of Attorney for Financial Affairs
- Business Lasting Powers of Attorney
- General Powers of Attorney
- Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare
- Advance Decisions
- Estate Planning
- Lifetime Trusts
- Change of Name
- Cohabitation/Living Together Agreements
- Pre Nuptial Agreements
Sadly, losing our mental capacity is not something that any of us can predict and we are all too often consulted when it is too late for us to provide these services. If you are consulting us on behalf of someone who has already lost their mental capacity, we can still help you to make an application to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their deputy.