Peace of Mind for the Future

Peace of Mind for the Future

None of us likes to think about our own death or incapacity. As a result, many of us will push the idea of preparing a Will or Power of Attorney to the back of our mind or think that we’ll get round to it at a later date. As Laura Jamieson, Associate with leading Scottish legal practice Miller Samuel Hill Brown explains, life and indeed death are unpredictable so there’s no time like the present to get our affairs in order.

The good thing is, by preparing a Will, you can ensure that when the time comes, your property and affairs will be dealt with in the way that you want and you can have peace of mind that you have made life easier for those who are to be tasked with administering your estate. It is, more often than not, more costly and time consuming to administer an estate where no Will is in place.

In today’s society, it has become even more advisable to prepare a Will as the traditional family dynamic evolves and we see the emergence of more ‘non-traditional’ family models.

If you don’t have a Will, then your estate will be distributed in terms of intestacy law and this may not be what you wish, especially if you are part of a cohabiting couple or step family. There is also a misconception that on death, a surviving spouse receives everything and there is therefore no need to prepare a Will.  This is not actually the case, and whether your spouse receives everything will depend on the value of your estate and which family members survive you.

Powers of Attorney tend to be even less popular as we do not like to consider the possibility that at some stage in our life we may be incapable of managing our own affairs.

While it may never be required, having a Power of Attorney prepared is advisable as the alternative if you lose capacity is obtaining a Guardianship Order through the Court. This can be a long, arduous and costly process, which would cause delay during what is already a difficult time for your family and friends. Having a Power of Attorney in place to set out who is to deal with your affairs in the event of your incapacity, avoids this outcome.

Powers of Attorney can be set up such that the Attorney can only act in the event that you have been declared incapable by a doctor, so there is no need to worry that your right to control your own affairs would be restricted in any way while you are still able to act yourself.

It is worth planning ahead in relation to Powers of Attorney too as, is often the case, the need to have this in place is identified only after someone is becoming or has become incapable and may therefore no longer be able to provide instructions to prepare one.

While there are obviously costs involved in making a Will and Power of Attorney, these are far less than the potential expenses incurred by your family or friends in the event that you die without a Will or become incapable without a Power of Attorney being in place, so do act now.

If this is an area where you feel you could benefit from advice, please contact  Laura Jamieson at Miller Samuel Hill Brown.

Miller Samuel Hill Brown