Wills, Probate & LPA's

Do I need Probate?

In certain circumstances a Grant of Probate is not needed. If the Estate has accounts with less than around £10,000 (this various between financial institutions), you would not normally need to obtain a Grant in order to obtain the money. However, where the estate includes certain assets – such as land, shares or larger amounts held in accounts you will need to obtain a Grant of Probate to sell and/or encash these assets.

Who is allowed to make a Will?

Any person who is over the age of 18 years can make a Will. However, members of the Armed Forces who are on active duty are able to make a Will once they turn 17 years of age. There is no age limit for making a Will however, you must have testamentary capacity, and be of sound mind. This means you must be aware of the fact that you are making a Will, and the effect that this may have on those who are dependent on you. You must also be aware of the extent of your estate. This is why it is important to act sooner rather than later.

Are there different types of LPA?

Yes, there are two types of Power of Attorney, Property and Finances and Health and Welfare.
In a Property and Finances LPA you appoint attorneys to manage your financial affairs in the event that either you become mentally incapable of doing so yourself or you wish someone else to assist you with this now. This includes authorising your Attorney to manage your bank accounts and investments, paying your outgoings for you as well as buying or selling property on your behalf. This will avoid costly Court of Protection Proceedings and delay in you getting the help you need in the future in the event that you lost capacity.
In the Health and Welfare LPA you appoint attorneys to manage your health decisions when you lack capacity to make those decisions for yourself. Your attorneys would have the ability to make decisions about day to day health matters, such as where you might live, the type of medical treatment you could receive and make decisions concerning life sustaining medical treatment if you wish.

What happens if the Executors are unwilling to act or the Executors are deceased?

If there is a Will, the instructions within it are still valid even if there is no executor to administer the estate. In this case, one of the beneficiaries can apply to the court to be an administrator of the estate. This application is known as ‘Letters of Administration’. We are able offer specialist advice in these circumstances as to who can administer the Estate and will guide you through this process.

What is the difference between a Deputy and a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Deputy is somebody who is appointed by the Court of Protection to make decisions for someone who is unable to make them for themselves, this is because that person has lost mental capacity and has not made a Lasting Power of Attorney. It would be usual for a family member or close friend to be a Deputy. A Lasting Power of Attorney is a voluntary process whereby a person appoints someone to make decisions on their behalf, if they lose capacity in the future.

What does an Executor do?

An Executor takes responsibility for dealing with a deceased person’s estate – which can include obtaining Probate, settling unpaid debts or bills, paying inheritance tax and distributing money or assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the Will.

Will I automatically inherit my Partners estate when they die, we are not married?

No, unfortunately this is not the case. If one of you were to pass away leaving no Will the estate would pass to relatives in accordance with the rules of intestacy. If you wish to provide for one another it is very important that you both Wills leaving your estate to the other. If you hold any assets jointly, such as a joint bank account, these assets will automatically pass to the other via the right of survivorship.