< Go Back New Years Resolutions As one year ends and a new one begins, many of us will take the opportunity to reflect on what has been, what the coming year may bring and indeed, what we may want to achieve. If you believe in surveys, the ten most popular areas that we might look to bring improvement to our lives are as follows: Spend more time with family and friends. Improve our fitness. Reduce our weight. Quit smoking. Quit drinking. Improve the work life balance. Improve ones finances and in particular, reduce debt. Learn a new skill. Help others. Get more organised. If we are minded to self improvement and using a new year as providing a catalyst to making positive changes to our daily lives, taking a greater sense of personal responsibility and for those we have responsibilities to, can also feature in our expectations for the future. They can of course, range in their magnitude from being more reliable to others to not dropping litter in the street. There are a number of activities we know we need to do as responsible adults, parents sons or daughters, but are all to easy to put off to another day. Associated with improving ones finances, helping others and indeed getting more organised could easily be added, ensuring we have made adequate provision for those we would leave behind were we to meet an untimely end. Alongside making sure that our partner would not be financially compromised by our sudden demise and at the very least ensuring that the mortgage would be paid off, would be getting a Will in place. We have probably all heard enough stories and seen sufficient anecdotal evidence as to what the consequences can be when an individual dies without having left a Will. Whilst the Rules of Intestacy are focussed on the financial implications, there is also the practical issues of guardianship of children and the administration of ones estate and affairs. We can either leave it to the state to make such decisions or we can take the responsibility and make it very clear what we would want to see happen. Wills can also provide longer term benefits for our nearest and dearest through the use of trusts that can provide very powerful instruments to mitigate against tax, and other perils, and provide greater assurance that what we leave will be best used. Alongside Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) provide the formal authority to look after an individuals affairs when they are not in a position to do this for themselves. If you die without a Will, the law, through the Rules of Intestacy, determine what happens to your estate. The state will also determine who will administer your affairs and indeed, have the ultimate say in who would act as guardians for any children. Similarly, if we lose capacity to make decisions for ourselves, the law determines what happens to our property and financial affairs and also for health and welfare matters. The process to obtain this ‘formal authority’ retrospectively, is both expensive and protracted. Having a LPA in place before capacity is lost, greatly simplifies the process that must be gone through, and if the LPA had been prior registered, formal authority is available immediately. As with Wills, we can help you with this. Why not give us a call.