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    18 March 2021

    Getting your Legal affairs in order

    With spring in the air, we approach what is considered the perfect time to spring clean the home.

    A spring clean does not just have to be your home, this time can be an opportunity to spring clean your life and relationships but have you considered using your spring clean schedule to get your legal affairs in order?

    2020 saw many law firms reporting an increase in Will enquiries as the coronavirus pandemic prompted families to review their lasting legacies.  However, to ensure that you have all your legal affairs in order, it is worth reviewing all areas of your life and ask yourself the following questions:

    •  Is my Will up to date?
    • Does my family know where my Will is stored?
    • Have I considered a Lasting Power of Attorney?
    • I am preparing to get married this year, what provisions are in place to protect my family inheritance for my children?

    Making a Will is an important task to tick off your to do list and ensuring it is up to date is equally as important.  A Will sets out who your money and property (your estate) will pass to after your death.  You can also name guardians and trustees for any children you may have.

    Without a Will, your estate passes according to the statutory intestacy provisions with priority given to spouses or civil partners and the deceased’s children, an often inflexible and unfair system.

    We all know that we should have a Will, but many of us do not think about making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), which is equally as important as a Will.  A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document allowing you to appoint someone you trust (your Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf should you become mentally incapable of dealing with your affairs.

    • Am I preparing to buy or sell a property?
    • Is my property registered?

    If you are thinking of putting your house on the market, it can be a daunting task.  The moment we receive your initial instruction, you will have our full support with legal paperwork, Land Registry, council searches, drafting of contracts and handling the exchange of money for you.

    It is estimated that some 17% of land remains unregistered and there are disadvantages to owning a property to which the title is unregistered.  If you remain unregistered, you need to keep your deeds safe to prove your title.  Every document is important and losing any of them can cause difficulties, delays, and additional expense.  If you are unsure as to whether your property is registered, this can be easily checked by your solicitor carrying out a search at the Land Registry.

    • Do I need to consider a Pre-nuptial agreement?
    • Am I unmarried but living with my partner?

    Just as some relationships end, others begin their next chapters.  Prenuptial agreements can be particularly important for those entering second marriages, especially where there are children or multiple assets.  Whilst they may not be suitable for all couples, they are an important consideration before the big day.

    Because unmarried couples have fewer legal rights, many are now deciding to seek advice for a cohabitation agreement to protect assets and outline the financial responsibilities of the relationship.

    Sorting your legal affairs in advance will give you peace of mind and ensure that everything runs smoothly and in accordance with your wishes.

    If you would like to discuss anything raised in this article with our expert team of Solicitors, please telephone 01603 598000 or email info@steeleslaw.co.uk and a member of the team will be happy to contact you.

    *The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.

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