January 4, 2022

One New Year's Resolution you should keep!

Every year we all make New Year resolutions, the majority of which are never kept. What better resolution could you make this year, than to ensure your personal affairs are in order?  

Surprisingly, it remains the case that the majority of people in Northern Ireland do not have a Will or an Enduring Power of Attorney in place. 

Given the uncertainty of the last two years, it is now more important than ever, to review your personal affairs and take steps to protect your family and dependents in the event of your death or mental incapacity.

Reasons to make a Will

  • You can decide how your assets are shared out on your death.  If you do not have a will, the law with determine how your assets are distributed. This may not be consistent with your wishes.  It is particularly important to have a Will if you have a partner or dependents but are not married or in a civil partnership.
  • You can choose who deals with your assets on your death.
  • You can appoint guardians for any infant children.
  • You can set out any preferences you may have in relation to disposal of your body or your funeral.
  • You can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax payable by your estate and preserve family wealth for future generations.
  • You can stipulate your wishes in relation to the payment of any “death in service” or pension benefits.

Why do I need an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)?

An EPA covers a situation where a person becomes incapable of looking after their own affairs.  Everyone should have an EPA irrespective of their means or marital status.  The document needs to be signed when a person has full mental capacity so it is better to act sooner rather than later.

By signing an EPA, a person appoints someone else to act on their behalf in the event of them losing capacity (for example as a result of a medical condition or following an accident).

An EPA can be general in relation to all of your property or affairs or be restricted to specific assets.  It can be qualified or made conditional depending on your specific requirements.  If an EPA is not put in place and a person subsequently loses capacity, their family and dependents will not be able to operate bank accounts on their behalf without the specific permission of the High Court.  A Controllership application would need to be made to the Court and this can be an expensive and time consuming exercise at a time when the person losing capacity needs more care and attention than ever.

If you have not already made a Will or an Enduring Power of Attorney, you should take steps to have these documents put in place as soon as possible. 

Please contact us to arrange an appointment or avail of our online instruction service. 

How can we help?

Send us your contact information and one of our team will be in touch to discuss your requirements.

Imperial Buildings,
72 High Street, Belfast BT1 2BE

DX 411 NR Belfast 1

+44 (0)28 9024 3126

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