Things to do during lockdown – Part 1 of 4

These are uncertain times during which the UK Government has advised its citizens to remain at home in order to stay safe and to protect our vital National Health Service. The UK lockdown measures have now been extended until early May. Therefore if you find yourself with some available downtime during this period, it may be a worthwhile exercise to put your basic financial planning “house in order” with the help of our simple checklist.

Write a will

Recent research by The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society indicates 54% of adults in the UK do not have a will and six out of ten parents do not have one, nor do they have guardians in place who would look after their children.

For those who already have a will, this might also be a good time to review and determine if it needs to be updated in the form of a new will to reflect changes in circumstances or, via a codicil.

It is also worth noting that marriage revokes an existing will unless the will was written in full anticipation of the marriage. Whereas a divorce doesn’t revoke an existing will. As a result, life events can often necessitate the need to review an existing will to ensure it continues to remain up to date and reflect your wishes.

Establish a Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf should you no longer be able to, or if you no longer want to. This could be in the short term, for example as a result of spending a period of time in hospital or long term, due to mental incapacity.

These decisions can relate to your general welfare, including decisions made on your daily routine, any medical care, or in choosing a care home – this is known as a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.

Alternatively, you may require assistance on making decisions, should you be physically or mentally incapacitated, regarding your finances. This includes managing your savings and investments, structuring your income requirements, paying your bills or selling your property(s) – this is known as a Property & Financial Affairs Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

You are able to appoint one or more attorneys to help you make the decisions on the above. An attorney must be over 18 and have the mental capacity to make their own decisions. Where the expectation is that the attorney could only be required for a short period of time then a simpler ordinary power of attorney could be considered rather than an LPA.

If you need some support with your financial planning, please do not hesitate to contact us.