Registering a Lasting Power of Attorney

Registering-a-lasting-power-of-attorney

In my last article I dealt with registration of an ‘enduring power of attorney’ (EPA). In 2007, this instrument was replaced by the ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ (LPA). There are two types of LPA: the health and welfare LPA and the ‘property and financial affairs LPA.

There are a number of points which should be made clear with respect to the LPA and this article:

  1. This article deals with the registration of LPAs created using forms : LPA114 or LPAPW (in the case of health and welfare) and LP117 or LPA PA (in the case of property and financial affairs);
  2. It does not deal with LPAs created via forms LP1F or LP1H (which can be registered by completing sections 12-15 of these forms, themselves). Nor does it deal with those made using the LPA digital service, for whose management you should log into your account (gov.uk/power-of-attorney);
  3. Property and financial LPA’s take effect as soon as registered;
  4. Health and welfare LPA’s should be registered as soon as the ‘donor’ (the individual to whose affairs the document pertains) loses capacity;
  5. LPA’s do not take effect until registered.

 

Act promptly and ensure documents are correct

An LPA has no effect until registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). It is critical that you ensure documents have been completed correctly, this should be done as early as possible. They can only be corrected whilst the donor has mental capacity and attorney(s) (those charged with managing the donor’s interests) may be unable to amend later.

The OPG cannot register documents which are incorrect, if there are errors, attorney(s) may be forced to apply to the court of protection for provision, this process can be lengthy and costly.

If you have any doubts, the OPG should be contacted:

By post: Office of the Public Guardian, Po Box 16185, Birmingham, B2 2WH;

By e-mail: customerservices@publicguardian.gsi.gov.uk

By telephone: 0300 456 0300

 

Complete the registration form and notify people

The LPA form should include a list of ‘people to be told’ (also termed ‘named persons’). These parties should be notified using form LP3 (Form to notify). Once this document is dispatched, there is a four week delay to provide for possible objections.

After this period, form LP2 may be completed and sent to the OPG, at the address above, to register the LPA. Payment of £82 (correct at time of writing), should also be included. For more information on how to pay see : www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/register .

Confidence Wills are able to check LPA documentation as are a range of other providers. Please feel free to get in touch 

Registering an enduring power of attorney

EP2PG-Form-Download

This article describes how you go about registering/activating an enduring power of attorney (EPA), allowing you (the ‘attorney’) to make decisions regarding someone else’s (the ‘donor’s’) assets and property, on their behalf.

To be clear, the enduring power of attorney has now been replaced by the lasting power of attorney as such, this article only deals with enduring powers of attorney made, and signed, before 1st October 2007.

 

Quick check!

Before registering the EPA, it’s worth double checking that the document is valid. Particularly if the individual still has capacity (some or all of the time) and there may be scope for correction.

  1. Is the document properly signed and witnessed by the donor, and signed by all the attorneys?
  2. Was the donor over 18 and did they have capacity when the EPA was made?
  3. Are all the attorneys over 18 and have they remained out of bankruptcy since the document was made?

If the answers to all of these is ‘yes’ then the document can be registered.

 

Registration

Registration of the document should take place either with permission of the donor or immediately on their losing capacity. You register an enduring power of attorney using two forms: EP1PG (used to notify interested parties of registration) and EP2PG (used to register the document with the authorities). Both are available from the www.gov.uk website.

 

Telling People

First you must complete, and send, form EP1PG to: the donor; 3 members (or groups of members) of the donor’s family (this must be done according to a specific hierarchy see below); any attorneys appointed in the document.

These parties then have 35 days to object to the registration.

With respect to notifying family members, 3 of the following ‘eligible groups of family members’ should receive form EP1PG. All members of each group should receive the form e.g. all children of the donor, and they must be over 18 and have capacity to ‘count’ towards the ‘3’.

The groups of family members are listed below in order of priority, and all efforts must be made to locate them. For clarity, the hierarchical approach means that supplying forms to e.g. siblings, does not remove the need to seek out spouses, children or parents of the donor. Only if no suitable member of any group senior in the hierarchy, can be identified, will a junior category ‘count’ towards notification of ‘3 eligible family members’

The order in which family members should be notified is as follows (relationships are with respect to the donor): spouse/civil partner; children (not step children); parents; siblings; widow(er)s of deceased children; grandchildren; nephews/nieces; aunts/uncles; first cousins.

Nb. if the need to identify ‘3 eligible family members’ cannot be satisfied, the office of the public guardian should be notified.

 

Application to register the form

Once the above notifications have taken place, form EP2PG should be downloaded from the www.gov.uk website, completed, attached to the original EPA document (or certified copy) and sent with payment (see below) to*:

Office of the Public Guardian

PO Box 16185

Birmingham

B2 2WH*

 

Payment, in the form of a cheque made out to ‘Office of the Public Guardian’ (write the donor’s name on the back of the cheque), for £82, should be included with the documents.

Assuming no objection, the registration process typically takes 8-10 weeks.

*if you are a member of the DX Exchange courier service send documents to : Office of the Public Guardian, DX 744240, Birmingham 79.

 

Confidence Wills are available to advise please feel free to get in touch – Contact Us

You can also download the EP2OG Download Here

 

How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

How Much Does a Funeral Cost.

Several factors contribute to the cost of a funeral. Figures may vary greatly, not only around procedural choices concerning, for example, burial or cremation, but by region.  Simple cremations,  may vary from 3 to 4 thousand pounds depending on location (25%), burials from 3.5 to 6.5 thousand (nearly 100%).

Significantly, funeral prices have risen sharply, with a 7% increase in the last 12 months outstripping even the housing market. Certain providers, such as Co-operative Funeral Care, are transparent in pricing and provide calculators, capable of producing detailed costings, capturing both funeral wishes and region.

What are these costs made up of?

The cost of a funeral might be split into: funeral director costs; ‘extras’ and third party fees.

Funeral director costs typically include:

  • Funeral arrangement e.g. organisation of service, clergy/crematorium liaison, documentation;
  • Care and preparation of the deceased;
  • Provision of hearse, coffin bearers and other transportation;
  • The coffin or casket itself.

Extras may also be attended to by the funeral director, on request and include: flowers, limousines, notifications in media etc.

Third party fees describe all that the funeral director does not provide, for example:

  • Church fees;
  • Cremation fees;
  • Burial fees;
  • Doctors’ fees;
  • Clerical or officiant fees;
  • Other personalisations e.g. music.

 

How to pay for funeral costs

Those arranging funerals for, ‘plan holders’ with, for example, Co-operative funeral care services, are able to liaise with their provider to assist in administration of funeral costs. Similarly, where Confidence Wills are supporting probate services, their providers can assist in settlements to be made from the estate of the deceased.

Notwithstanding, in all cases, certain costs must be paid up front (e.g. officiant fees, cremation fees etc.) whilst others, will be invoiced after the event. Typically these are payable by cash, credit card or cheque.

 

What if my budget is tight?

For those wishing to spend less, it is worth noting that government help might be available to assist with funeral costs. Where applicable a ‘Funeral Expense Payment’ claim form (SF200) can be downloaded from the government’s website (www.gov.uk). Co-op members are eligible for 5% discount on funeral fees from recognised establishments.

At the lower end of the scale, simple funerals may be obtained from Co-operative funeral care services for around £1,900. Direct cremation for £1,400 (excluding ceremony). Other providers may charge more.

 

If you’ve any questions on anything raised in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact Confidence Wills – Contact Us

 

 

National Will Register Certainty

National Will Register Certainty

Why register a will?

If the document cannot be located it may be assumed not to exist (except in certain circumstances and after legal process). This may occur where a testator has used a DIY service, or even taken the document from a safe place for home storage. In some cases, executors or family members may be unaware of its existence or fail to search for it. Interactions between family members are often sporadic and confounded by emotion at time of bereavement, so you should think about this in concrete terms now.

 

What can happen if my will isn’t registered?

Simply the document might not found, leading the enactment of the most recent document which can be!

Unfortunately this factor may lead to nefarious activities such as destruction of drafts by those benefiting from an earlier version of the document, or indeed failure to disclose existence. In such cases, distributions contradictory to your intent may occur or even intestacy (your being treated as though you never made a will at all!) Worse, extended and costly legal wrangling may take place. Why take the risk?

 

How do I register a will?

Confidence Wills works closely with the National Will Registry, and are happy to assist with management of the process – https://confidencewills.co.uk/#contacts

The National Will Registry, ensures location of your document. As part of the probate initiation, this database is routinely checked. Thus, a situation in which executors lack knowledge of a document and so cannot locate it, is avoided.

The process is not costly (a one off fee of around £30 at time of writing), so we strongly suggest that you do this as soon as your will is complete

What to do when someone dies?

What to do when someone dies

Such events can be overwhelming, below is a short summary of the steps you need to take in the immediate aftermath.

Obtain a ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’

This document is obtained by notifying a doctor who will certify death. A certificate will usually be issues rapidly, under certain circumstances, for example in case of a sudden death, a Coroner may need to be notified. In this instance a certificate may take longer to obtain.

Once a certificate is obtained, you should contact a funeral director. They will collect the deceased and take them into their care. If the death occurs in hospital your loved one will be taken into the on-site mortuary until registration of the death.

A few situations result in additional steps. Should death occur in a foreign country, the British Embassy should be contacted for registration. Repatriation can then take place, a Coroner should be notified on return to determine whether investigation is required. In the case of an unexpected hospital death, next of kin may be approached for permission to perform a post mortem examination, to establish cause of death.

Registering the death

Deaths must be registered within 5 days (in England) or 8 days (in Scotland). Registration is usually done by a relative of the deceased and is necessary before funeral arrangements can be progressed properly. This can be done via an embassy if death has occurred abroad.

To register death you should visit your local Registrar’s office (see: https://www.gov.uk/register-offices). You should take with you the ‘Medical Certificate of Cause of Death’, it is also helpful to take the following if available:

  • Birth certificate
  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • Marriage Certificate
  • NHS medical card
  • Proof of address

 

Funeral Director and Funeral Arrangements

Funeral directors can be found readily online. In the event that the deceased has made prior funeral arrangements, you can find their preference in this regard. The funeral director will collect the deceased and care for them in a funeral home, while arrangements for the funeral itself are made.

With respect to the funeral itself, considerations such as whether to bury or cremate and location of funeral are central. The deceased’s wishes may be set out in their will, whilst not binding, these should be respected.

The existence of a funeral plan should also be confirmed as these may save a great deal of money and organisational burden.

Last Will and Testament

Last-Will-and-Testament

The dictionary defines a will as: “a document by which a person (called a testator) appoints executors to administer his or her estate after their death, and directs the manner in which it is to be distributed to beneficiaries specified by them”.

This is in line with most people’s understanding of the document. At its most simple, it is the instrument by which one sets out: what assets they are leaving; to whom and under whose management this distribution will take place.

What is dealt with in a will?

A will may bequeath items solely owned by the testator. It is noteworthy that items to which a relationship exists other than sole ownership e.g. pensions, jointly owned properties, may fail to enter the estate of one making a will.

In addition to leaving goods and assets, provision can be made for: guardianship of minors, funeral planning, business continuation, charitable gifts, pet care and a range of other matters.

How do I make a will?

There are three main approaches to creating a will: via an online DIY service; via a professional will writing service and via a solicitor.

DIY Services

DIY services typically cost between £15 and £30. Such processes are low in cost but comparatively high in risk. Elements of the will writing process are somewhat arcane and if managed incorrectly, may lead to failures. Commentators attribute the 60% rise in court disputes pertaining to wills, last year to the use of these services. Such battles may incur six figure fees and harm family relationships irreparably.

Professional will writers

Costing in the order of £150-£250, these are firms and individuals, typically bound to societies such as the Society of Will Writers or the Institute of Professional Will Writers, who are trained specifically in the documentation and creation of wills. They usually provide a face to face service and have the support of a legal back office for drafting, as well as appropriate insurances. Many favour this route for cost effectiveness and reliability. Always verify membership of professional bodies and insurance.

Solicitors

Charging is hourly, so fees may reach thousands of pounds. Such fees arise from simple market forces, namely that, when drafting a will with a client, solicitors commit time that might be spent on more directly lucrative activity. The approach is detailed, driven by risk aversion (a good thing) and usually of a high a standard.

For clarity, Legal firms occasionally offer a lower cost service. These offers tend to rely on, for example, paralegals rather than solicitors, to achieve such fees. This is not the same as a solicitor driven service.

Individuals with whom you deal in creating this critical document, should always be questioned on personal training and possibly membership (rather than affiliation) of professional bodies. An under qualified drafter failing to grasp your wishes may lead to trouble later.

Lasting Power of Attorney Guidence

Lasting Power of Attorney Guidence

A Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) is sometimes known as a ‘living will’. This is because it is the means by which you are able to appoint someone trusted to make key decisions for you should lose the ability to do so yourself, this is called a ‘loss of capacity’.

The person you appoint to make these decisions is known as the ‘attorney’ (you would be known as the ‘donor’ when making such a document).

Types of LPA

There are two types of LPA: a ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA and a ‘Property and financial affairs’ LPA. These are separate documents intended to guide your attornies in the management of health and financial matters, respectively.

Health and Welfare LPA

The ‘Health and Welfare’ LPA permits your attorney to make a range of decisions with respect to your welfare including (but not limited to) matters as critical as the delivery of ‘life sustaining treatment’. Remember, life sustaining treatment may include things you consider mundane, such as provision of asthma or diabetes medication.

Property and Financial Affairs LPA

The ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ LPA permits your attorneys to make decisions about the management of your money and property. This might include matters such as payment of bills, collection of benefits etc.

A really important difference between the two is that the ‘Health and Welfare’ document may only be enacted when you can be shown to have lost capacity. The ‘Property and Financial Affairs’ document applies as soon as it is registered with the authorities (this is because such documents are often used by those travelling abroad to permit management of assets locally).

Registration

To take effect, these documents will need to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. You will need to make decisions around matters such as :

  • Who will make decisions on your behalf?
  • How these are to be made?
  • Who should be notified when these LPA’s take effect?

Act Now

These documents are more important than ever for two key reasons.

 

Cost

If you do not have these documents in place, bodies such as the Local Authority may have free reign to provide you with services at costs determined by them. We are aware of cases where four figure fees have been withdrawn for doing little more than signing a letter once a month.

The process of negotiating (and occasionally litigating) around such procedures can elevate expenditure to another level altogether.

Risk

Put simply, more people than ever need these documents. Historically infrequent afflictions are now common place. Leading reasons for loss of capacity include: dementia; stroke/brain injury and mental health problems. This year in the UK, one person was diagnosed with dementia; hospitalised with brain injury or deemed lacking in capacity under the mental health act, every minute.

If wrangling or indecision affects enactment of your wishes, the impact may extend well beyond the administrative costs described above. Deadlines may be missed, penalties incurred, benefits lost. Medication depleted.

Fees for creation of these documents are minimal, costs of failing to do so great – Feel Free to Speak to Confidence Wills for Guidance

The Role of an Executor

the-role-of-an-executor

An executor(s) is the individual or group of individuals who are charged with administering estate distribution under the terms of a will. Up to four may be appointed. The tasks associated with this function may be onerous, it is for this reason that one benefiting from the will (and so interested in its taking effect) is often appointed to the role.

The responsibilities are broad and the summary below should be viewed as neither chronologically strict nor technically exhaustive.

Assume the role of executor

As an executor you must first acquire the powers necessary to begin work, obtaining a grant of probate from the courts (unless the estate is very small in which case this may be dispensed with).

In practice, you should register the death, obtain a certificate and locate the most recent version of the will.

The person who has passed may have left notification of the will’s location. If not, search the National Will Register. NB. you are advised to use copies of the will wherever possible as damage to the original may result in its rejection by the courts.

You must then value the estate including all property and debts. Where appropriate professional valuations should be obtained.

An application for a grant of probate can then be made. This is performed by completing form PA1 and appropriate inheritance tax (IHT) documentation. You must send these forms, together with the original will (plus three copies of it), an official death certificate copy and a fee (currently around £200) to the local probate office.

IHT MUST THEN BE PAID! It is noteworthy that this is required prior to distribution of the estate.

A grant of probate will then be dispatched to you. Make several copies as these will be required when engaging asset holders.

 

Arrange the funeral

Check the will for any funeral wishes, these are not legally binding, though should be respected. Find out if a funeral plan has been put in place and contact the provider immediately, since this may provide finance for the event.

Funerals are viewed as an expense of death, with proper documentation i.e. an invoice from a funeral director, the bank of the deceased will issue a cheque to settle these costs.

Notify family and friends of the time and date of the funeral, consider advertising in local press.

 

Secure Assets and Identify Beneficiaries

In order to ultimately distribute assets, you’ll need to identify and engage: debtors, creditors and beneficiaries.

Sending an original death certificate to all asset holders e.g. banks, you can request cancellation of any active charges (e.g. direct debits) and access to the assets. Likewise, cessation of salaries and pensions should be sought.

Enquire of creditors as to outstanding debts, including HMRC. Place statutory advertisements in publications such as the London Gazette (these must be allowed to run for two months). Debts must be settled prior to distribution, and clearance from HMRC to proceed, obtained.

 

Distribute the estate

Before beginning distribution draw up comprehensive accounts for the estate and maintained them throughout the process. Interrogate the insolvency register to identify any beneficiary in bankruptcy (and so potentially unentitled to benefit from the estate).

With respect to any trust or minor beneficiary, ensure at least two trustees are appointed.

You should wait at least 6 months prior to distribution to allow for any claim against the estate. Distribution may then proceed. Provide tax forms to all beneficiaries (R185) and leep records of your work/expenses since the latter may be reimbursed by the estate.

For more information or to book a consultation feel free to get in touch- https://confidencewills.co.uk/#contacts

Cost Of A Will?

Cost Of A Will?

A will is the means by which an individual (one making a will is known as a testator) sets out what is to happen to their assets on death.

The cost of a simple will may range from £20 for a ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) product to several thousand pounds for a document drafted by a solicitor, at an hourly rate.

In the case of DIY options there is typically no direct support during the process. Since clarity of intent is central to an effective will, problems may arise leading to future failure. Conversely, the time taken to establish such clarity with a solicitor, may be great. Moreover, several elements of the will writing process are fairly arcane and it is certainly possible to fall foul of technical error, even with the best of intent.

Professional will writing services offer intermediate options (typically in the £1-200) range. These may include face to face meetings, in which a trained advisor seeks to understand your position and wishes prior to drafting. Such organisations are often associated with trade bodies and should be selected with care.

The value of face to face interaction when conveying complex information cannot be underestimated. Humans simply have not evolved to communicate only verbally, this is why translation into words of seemingly simple wishes, in a manner capable of withstanding all contingencies, is prized and lawyers costly.

 

The Cost of no Will?

Dying with no will whatever, is known as ‘intestacy’.  The impact of this on those you leave, is entirely dependent on your personal circumstance and their character. There is a legal process by which your estate is allocated. In the case of a small estate’s being left to a sole heir or spouse, the process might prove perfectly adequate. Where the estate is larger, or family arrangements more complex, key individuals, in need of care, may be neglected. Seek advice on the matter if possible.

A poorly drafted will, may actually prove more harmful, than one’s absence. Challenges to wills in court routinely attract six figure legal fees, the 60% rise in such cases seen last year has been attributed to the use of DIY systems. The reasons for challenge broadly relate to either technical issues (improper drafting/execution) or the will’s content (concerning, for example, who has been left what, and how it has been done).

It is worth remembering, however, that impropriety might be perceived, even when not pursued legally. Simmering resentments may thus colour interactions between grieving loved ones at an emotionally charged time. I myself have seen families rent apart in such cases, years of ensuing silence, arguably outstripping the harm of a costly but potentially cathartic court case.

A good will writer will seek to understand your position, your wishes and the reasons underlying intent, reflecting these in a document which is practical, robust and sensitive.

For more information or to book a consultation feel free to get in touch- https://confidencewills.co.uk/#contacts

Choosing Between a Joint Will and a Single Will

We specialise in general wills for single people, married people and those living within a Civil Partnership. There are a number of different types of wills to choose from and it’s important that you choose the right one for you.

Single Wills

Despite its title a single will is also suitable for couples. Couples may opt for single wills if they wish to vary their will from their partners in some way. For example, this kind of will might be chosen to make financial provision for an ex-wife, or for the non-dependant stepchildren of that relationship. Usually, in cases like this a will is made for both partners at the same time.

Mirror Wills

A mirror will is a similar concept to a single will, a couple will create virtually identical wills to each other. It allows for small variations from a joint will. It is also important to note that with mirror wills, either person can change their will without the other person knowing. You cannot be 100% certain of the other persons will remaining the same.

Single Wills Made Before Marriage

If you have a single will in place and then choose to get married this will is automatically revoked and is no longer valid. If you do not wish to make a new one once you are married, then the law of intestacy will decide how your assets are divided – usually, your estate would go to your spouse.

However, if you choose to make another single will following your marriage, then this can remain as a separate will. If you make a will before your marriage, but in it state that you are intending to get married, then this will remain valid.

A will is also partially nullified by a divorce. Your ex-spouse will no longer be able to benefit from your will as a beneficiary, or act as an executor and/or trustee. If you do wish to offer something to your ex-spouse, then this will need to be included within a new will.

Joint Wills

Most wills are made by married people as they want to provide a degree of security to their loved one should the worst happen. A joint will is one document that covers the married couple – regardless of their sex. Unlike a mirror will, a joint will cannot be changed without both consent from the spouse.

Need to know more information about the will writing process? Contact us now to find out more