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We don't write Wills for clients, and Will writing is not part of the Quilter Financial Services offering.
Legal matters such as Wills can be very complex, and only a certain amount of depth is gone into here
   ...Why Write a Will?
   ...Without A Will
   ...Updating a Will
   ...Why Have a Living Will?
   ...Unmarried Couples
   ...Setting One Up
   ...Delegating Authority
   ...Attorneys Making Gifts
   ...Getting Further Information
Why Write a Will?
Mainly, to be certain that your possessions and money go to the people you care about.
A Will can also help to:
  protect your loved ones
  give you peace of mind
  ease the administration of your estate
  be an opportune way for you to give money to charity.
Making a Will is a straightforward and important way of looking after your family's future.
Without a Will
Without a Will, your property will not necessarily automatically go to your partner.
If you have a partner but you're not married (and not Legal Civil Partners), it's possible that your partner might get nothing at all.
Even if you are married, without a Will it's the law which will decide who gets what.
A Will should be written 'sooner rather than later'.
Most of us put off writing a Will (or updating it) either because it seems to have little urgency or maybe it just seems depressing.
But we all die, and so it needs to be done.
Updating a Will
If your circumstances have changed, then your Will may have become out of date or possibly even invalid.
For example, you should consider updating your Will if:
  you get married / become a legal Civil Partner
  buy a property
  have children
  get divorced
  a beneficiary has died
  an executor has died
  you now have grandchildren
  you become a godparent
  you win the lottery (?!)
  you receive a large inheritance yourself.
Keep the Will somewhere safe, with a copy elsewhere. And tell your family where it is.
Your other financial documents should also be kept somewhere safe and known about, as they'll be needed.
If you have pension scheme funds, there may be money paid out from these after your death. Decide whom should receive death benefit; check who's already nominated to receive it; and if necessary ask the pension company for a new nomination form.

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Why Have a 'Living Will'?
A 'Living Will' is a document which sets out your wishes for what should happen to you (and what should NOT happen to you), if you become seriously ill and incapable of expressing a choice.
In such a circumstance, a Living Will can help a court to decide what is in the best interests of you the patient ... because it indicates what actions you would have wanted.
Making a Living Will is a positive action. The instructions can reduce or remove from one's nearest and dearest the burden of having to decide what action to take.
It may be difficult to make an informed decision about an event which is yet to occur.
You might later have a change of mind. You might also be misinformed about the availability or effect of alternative treatments. It is quite possible that future cures may exist which supersede the current course of action for a particular medical condition.
Care should be taken with the wording.
A Living Will should be created by a solicitor and be signed and witnessed. It can then be lodged with your GP, with a copy given to your next-of-kin.
Unmarried Couples
Unmarried couples can use Living Wills to appoint each other as 'next-of-kin'. This helps when giving consent for an operation, for example. Without such evidence, medical staff may actually disregard a partner's views in favour of a family member's views.

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The Power of Attorney system allows elderly or infirm people to cede control of their finances to friends or family.
Since 1 October 2007, a 'Lasting' Power of Attorney can cede control of welfare (as well as financial) decisions.
A person called a 'donor' can delegate general authority to somebody else - to act on their behalf in financial and business matters in the event of becoming mentally incapable.
If there is any doubt about the donor's mental capacity when the Power of Attorney is signed, then the advice of a medical doctor should be obtained.
Nominated persons are 'attorneys', must be at least 18 years old, mentally capable and not bankrupt. A trust corporation or a company can also be an attorney. A donor can choose any number of attorneys.
If an individual does not appoint an attorney, the Court of Protection would have to appoint a 'receiver'. This is more expensive, takes longer and is more inconvenient.
How to Set One Up
Attorneys are appointed by an 'Enduring Power of Attorney' (EPA) / 'Lasting Power of Attorney' (LPA). These are in a prescribed form.
Paperwork is available from solicitors or from some stationers. It is wise to take legal advice on the completion of the form.
Delegating Authority
The donor can give general authority to the attorney(s) to carry out transactions - e.g. signing cheques, buying and selling shares, etc.
Alternatively, authority can be limited to specified assets or to particular transactions - even to forbid certain transactions.
If there's more than one attorney, they each individually have authority. It is not necessary for both / all attorneys to sign in order to transfer ownership of the donor's property. So, care is needed in selecting attorneys and the power(s) they have.
More than one Power of Attorney can be made - to delegate different tasks to different attorneys.
Attorneys Making Gifts
An attorney has only limited powers to make gifts (e.g. on marriage or birthdays), generally to people connected or related (including the attorney) to the donor. Gifts to charities which the donor might support are allowed.
Any such gifts must be reasonable with regard to the size of the donor's estate.
Before making any gifts, it is strongly recommended that approval from the Court of Protection is sought.
The donor can cancel or revoke a Power of Attorney at any time, if mentally capable of signing a 'Deed of Revocation'.
However, if the power's already been registered (because the donor has lost mental capacity), the donor cannot revoke it without confirmation from the Court of Protection.
Getting Further Information
Further information can be obtained from sources such as:
the Office of the Public Guardian (formerly Public Guardianship Office) [opens a new window]
or Age UK (formerly Age Concern) [opens a new window]

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The editorial here does not constitute personal advice.
It reflects Bernas Coni Warren's understanding of current law and tax practice, and is without prejudice.
No liability shall attach.
Errors & Omissions Excepted.

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Phone01275 83 73 03
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Bristol, BS14 0DU
Bernas Coni Warren is a trading style of John Bernas ACSI, dip PFS
who is an appointed representative of Quilter Financial Planning Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning Limited, which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
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