Protecting Your Future in 2021: Wills and Powers of Attorney – Part 1
2021 brings a new year of opportunity and a chance to reflect back on what a challenging year we have all faced in 2020. The uncertainty, the current impact on our health and care services as well as the impact on families across the world will be long remembered and felt going into the future.
2021 also offers a chance for us to consider the future and prioritise what matters to us most. At this time of year, we normally set out what New Year resolutions we hope to carry through for the rest of the year. Protecting you and your family’s future is perhaps not one resolution you would have usually considered – however, after the challenges of 2020 this seems to now be more important than ever.
Having a Will and Power of Attorney in place acts as a means of protecting our own interests during our lifetime and the interests of others we care about in the event of our passing.
Through a three-part series, we will look at the differences between a Will & Power of Attorney as well as why you should have a current up-to-date Will and Power of Attorney.
Will and Power of Attorney – What’s the difference?
The best starting point is understanding the differences between Wills and Powers of Attorney.
A Will allows you to “map out” your instructions of how you wish your own estate to be distributed and how this should happen in the event of your death.
A Power of Attorney (PoA) differs from a Will as it allows you to give legal authority to another individual, in order for them to make decisions on your behalf during your lifetime where you become mentally incapable. There are two types of Power of Attorney:
- Continuing Power of Attorney – decisions made about your financial and property matters; and
- Welfare Power of Attorney – decisions made about your welfare, care and health matters.
Having a combined Continuing and Welfare PoA in place allows the Granter of the PoA to have peace of mind that they have appointed a suitable individual to act on their behalf during the Granter’s lifetime. It is important to carefully consider who you appoint, as they will have very wide-ranging powers to deal with your affairs. Always be sure to take expert legal advice before granting these documents
Understanding the differences between Wills and PoAs often allows individuals to consider how these legal documents can be tailored to best help with their own individual circumstances. This new year it is important that you consider putting a Will and Power of Attorney in place, or review your existing Will and Power of Attorney, in order to protect your own interests and the interests of those closest to you.
If you need any advice about Wills and Powers of Attorney please get in touch with Blackadders’ Private Client Team working in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and across Scotland’.
Paul Nash, Trainee Solicitor
*In Part 2 we will explore the reasons why we should have a current, up-to-date Will in place.