If Probate is not required this is probably due to the fact that the estate was either very small or most of the estates assets were held jointly and have passed to the surviving joint owner.
This would in turn mean that your estate is now probably going to be subject to probate on your death and this may be a particularly good time to have a complete review of your estate.
It is a good idea to consider changing or updating your Will and to consider lasting powers of attorney and see if you can avoid probate by setting up a lifetime trust.
The importance of having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) cannot be underestimated. If for any reason you are not able to manage your own affairs, perhaps through illness or an accident, then who would be able to look after your personal and/or business affairs?
A common misconception is that a family member or trusted friend would be able to help. In fact, this is just not the case as no one has the legal right to do this on your behalf. An LPA is a legal document by which you appoint someone else to act on your behalf with your financial affairs and property. The person appointed as your legal representative is called an ‘attorney’. An LPA can be used to give your attorney(s) power straight away, or only if you become mentally incapable of managing your own affairs.
This may occur for example through an accident, stroke or dementia. Their application is therefore by no means limited to older people. Your attorney can generally be anyone over age 18. The person or persons appointed as your attorney(s) can be appointed jointly and severally – i.e. either of them can act separately or together – or jointly, i.e. they have to act together.
Should you not have an LPA in place then the Government office called the Office of the Public guardian will make decisions for you and each decision may cost £400.00. If a family member applied to the court to obtain authority to look after your affairs this process can cost as much as £2,170.00 and can take up to 4 months to complete with no guarantee of success. So setting up an LPA now may be very worthwhile.
For more information about any of these products and to obtain your free without obligation estate review call The Probate Office 01276 415811 or Contact Us here.