Do you have a Will and Power of Attorney?
The start of another New Year brings an opportunity to set new goals and organise your personal affairs. Before setting new goals for 2022, are your affairs in good order? Do you have a Will and/or Power of Attorney that reflects your wishes should anything happen? Here at Innes Johnston, we can assist with a range of matters including preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney and any conveyancing queries.
Make or Update your Will
Do you need to put a Will in place or update your current Will? Research shows that around half of all adults who die every year don’t have a Will.
A Will’s most important function is to ensure that you have as much control as possible as to who will inherit what from you. You can deal with your finances, appoint executors, create trusts and appoint guardians for your children. Dying without a Will, you leave matters to the law to decide such as who inherits from the estate and also the extent of each share of the estate.
It is important to have a Will in place which reflects your current wishes to ensure that when you pass away, your family are able to honour these.
Put in place a Power of Attorney
Have you considered putting a Power of Attorney in place? We recommend that all adults have a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney in place.
A Power of Attorney is a legal document which authorises one or more people to act on your behalf, should you require assistance. There are different types of Power of Attorney, covering your financial affairs, welfare, or both. Powers of Attorney differ from Wills as they deal with your personal circumstances in life, not death.
Implementing a Power of Attorney allows you peace of mind and the control of choosing for yourself who would assist you in circumstances where you did not have capacity. Hopefully, your Attorneys will never require to act on your behalf but it is a very sensible precaution to put a Power of Attorney in place just in case.
Check your Title Deeds
Have you recently paid off your mortgage or are looking to do so in the near future? If so, you will require to instruct your solicitor to carry out a discharge of the standard security registered in the Land Register of Scotland. This is something we would be delighted to assist with.
Another point to consider is whether your title deeds accurately reflect your wishes. If you own a property jointly, it is important to know whether your title deeds include a Survivorship destination or not. A Survivorship Destination means that when you die, your share of the property will automatically be transferred to those with whom you jointly own the property.
It is important to note that a Survivorship destination overrides the terms of your Will therefore if it is not what you want then it is not sufficient to express this in your Will. Instead, you and your co-owner must agree for the Survivorship destination to be revoked and this must be in writing.
If one of my colleagues or myself can assist you in putting your affairs in order then do please get in touch.
Author | Shannon Wright-Davies