Frequently asked questions and definitions

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) has to be signed by both donor and Attorney in the presence of a witness. The LPA must then be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). A complete register of LPAs is maintained by the OPG who can refer any matter of concern onto the Court of Protection. Court fees are payable on registration. The Court of Protection will have overall control over LPAs and provide support and guidance to Attorneys, and give protection to the donors by monitoring the decisions taken by Attorneys.

A certificate of capacity, which is attached to the application, will have to be given by a person other than the Attorney who has known the donor for at least two years, and must confirm that the donor understands the form and that the authority is being given of their own free will. The certificate also states that no undue pressure has been used to make the donor sign the form.

 

If you receive proper advice on planning your lifetime finances effectively, and on the most tax-effective form of Will, it should be possible to reduce your Inheritance Tax bill significantly or even wipe it out completely. So, money that would otherwise go to the taxman will go to your beneficiaries instead – family, friends and charities.

We will help you consider all the tax implications and consequences of your Estate – and whether, through a properly drawn Will, there are steps which can be taken so that the tax bill on your Estate can be reduced.

If you die ‘intestate’ – that is without having made a valid Will – your Estate (the legal term for your combined assets) will be distributed according to rules of intestacy which may benefit the taxman and the State rather than your spouse, children, friends and favourite charities.

If you have no living relatives and have not made a valid Will, everything you leave will go to the State – with your close friends and favourite charities receiving nothing at all. We can help you consider the issues you need to address in deciding on the right type of Will for your own particular circumstances.

It is vital to have your Will reviewed whenever there is a change in your family situation, your financial affairs or when there are new tax laws. This is to ensure that the people and charities you expect to benefit from your Will, can continue to do so.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 created a new Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place of the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).

The LPA gives the Attorney power to deal with the donor’s property and affairs, and once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian it can be used immediately.

An LPA also allows for an Attorney to make decisions regarding the donor’s healthcare and personal welfare. These decisions can only be taken once the LPA has been registered and the donor has lost capacity. Any decision made under an LPA must be in the best interests of the donor who has given them the Power.

Although the Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) forms are long and complex they do give extensive powers relating to personal welfare as well as financial affairs and offer significant protection for the donors against any abuse of the Power.

The benefit of putting an LPA in place is that it gives peace of mind and provides the mechanism for care should you need it in future.

The role of the Executor is to ensure that your Will is properly administered and that the full value of your Estate is realised.

The duties of an Executor will include tracing all your assets and investments, calculating and arranging for the payment of any debts and taxes, obtaining probate, tracing all the beneficiaries, distributing the estate and resolving any disputes which may arise.

It is important that whoever you consider appointing as your Executor understands that the duties they take on could become complicated and time-consuming. In practice, many Executors instruct solicitors to act on their behalf, at considerable cost to the Estate.

Whilst your Executor could be a close friend, a family member or a professional adviser, many people decide that choosing a professional Executor Company, such as KKL, is the best solution for them.

A Will sets out the way in which you want your assets such as your savings, investments, property, insurance policies and possessions to be distributed when you die.

By making a valid Will with the help of professional legal advice you can ensure that your spouse, family and friends and favourite charities will benefit as you intend. You can use your Will to give details of any legacies you want to make to individuals or charities and any lifetime trusts that you would like to establish for children, elderly relatives or others.

Making a valid Will is the only way of guaranteeing that you take control of what happens to your assets when you die and that your wishes are carried out precisely according to your instructions.