Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive at NJ Legal Services. If you can’t find the answer to what you are looking for, contact us today for free advice. Give us a call on 0800 689 0923 or send an email to email@example.com.
I am single, do I need a Will?
The simple answer is yes.
If you want to ensure that your assets pass to the people of your choice and not leave things to chance everyone should have something in place even if it is straight forward.
A will professionally put together will provide the legal document required to ensure that money, assets and possessions pass to family or friends of your choice.
The alternative is to leave things to chance, even then dying intestate (without a will) takes so much longer for your family to sort out and it will without doubt cost a lot of money in the long run for the estate to pass.
Can I leave a gift to Charity in my Will?
Did you know that many people would like to leave a gift to Charity in their Will?
Consideration has to be given to this and care needs to be taken.
For example; if the gift to be given free of any potential inheritance tax that falls within the estate, the charity needs to be recognised with a registration number.
Also think about the impact of leaving a large sum to a charity on the rest of the family, the intended beneficiaries.
There have unfortunately been several court cases that have been brought about by families challenging the way that charities have been left large sums of money, and vice versa, and there have been questions about the way the gift was intended by the testator (the person who made the Will).
This can be avoided by having the will drafted by a professional Will drafter. We can help and give advice in this area.
We want to buy a House, do we need a Will?
When people are starting out and decide to take the leap and buy their first home, it is the right time to look at all their finances.
This includes adding a Will to their tick list of important things to have in place.
Depending on how the house is being purchased, this may pass automatically to the spouse by the survivorship law should there be an untimely death.
However this is not always the case and we can advise on the best route forward.
In any event you are now on your way to owning a substantial Asset and very soon you will have more items of value as well as savings.
Therefore, providing good solid advice is essential in having wills drawn up early to give you both the peace of mind required.
Don’t leave it and put it off until old age it really is not worth the risk. Never put off until tomorrow the important things that you can do today.
We have a Family, is this the time to make a Will?
If you have not already done so and you now have a family then yes it should be a priority to have Wills in place.
You need to consider how you would like your Assets to be distributed should there be an untimely death. You should consider the guardianship for the young children as an absolute priority.
You need to protect the children and therefore consideration needs to be given as to what age they should be able to receive their share of the estate and the important decision about appointing Executors
Executors are personal representatives, these are the people who carry out your wishes and have a legal obligation to do so.
Our services extend to providing a simple guide for the executors appointed which explains their duties and how they can rely on us to help guide them should they ever need support, and of course this includes yourself or your spouse who are also first line executors.
My child is disabled, what kind of Will do we need?
With a disabled child, more protection needs to be considered by way of a Disabled Trust.
By setting this up early and contained within a will it ensures that the Trustees appointed are able to provide for the child at a time when he most needs funds, this may be at any time during his or her lifetime.
For example; A child may need financial support for a school trip or as an adult there may be a requirement for a suitably equipped car for him or her to drive which requires some contribution to help pay for it.
By setting up a Disabled trust in your Will, should anything happen to you – you will have the peace of mind knowing that you have set up a facility that will ensure your child can have access to funds, with the help and direction of the Trustees without affecting his or her on-going disabled benefit’s.
Lasting Power of Attorney FAQs
What does a Lasting Power of Attorney do?
A lasting power of attorney is a very powerful legal instrument that allows the donor (the person giving the power) to give the attorney the right to act on their behalf on very important decision making issues.
This may include the payment of bills, access to bank accounts and over very important decisions regarding a persons health and well being such as where they receive care and decisions even as important as a life support machine.
What are the different types of Lasting Power of Attorney?
One is for Property and Financial Affairs and the other is for Health and Welfare. Both are recommended.
Will I be allowed to make decisions for my partner?
Should a person no longer be able to make decisions for themselves due to an accident or through declining health, without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place the spouse does not automatically have the right to look after their loved ones affairs.
The Court of Protection takes control by appointing a Deputy, this costs a lot of money and although it is possible for the spouse to apply to the courts for this in order to take over this role this will take time and is very expensive. Having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place avoids this.
Our bank accounts are in joint names – will this affect anything?
Unfortunately some banks will still freeze the account until they see evidence of who has control as an Attorney.
How old do you have to be to get a Lasting Power of Attorney?
Anyone of us can have an accident or stroke without warning and then it maybe too late to put this legal document in place. It has to completed when someone has the mental capacity to do so. It is so easy to put it off thinking that these things only happen to other people.
Our property is in joint names, will this affect anything?
Consider for a moment a property in joint names. The spouse has an unexpected road accident, the disability means that the home needs to be adapted to help cope with the disability-perhaps a bungalow would be more suitable.
Therefore selling the house is the best move forward, this requires both parties to agree to sell, however the spouse who had the accident no longer has the capacity to make these decisions.
This is a serious situation, having a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Finance in place overcomes this problem.
What is we never need our Lasting Power of Attorney?
Hopefully this will be the case, you have a choice as to whether to register them straight away or hold them in a secure place and only register them when they may be needed.
It is an individual choice- however all of us should have these in place, remember we never know when they may be needed.
It is too late to try and have them in place after someone has lost capacity. They cease to be of use and can not be used after someone passes away.