U3A MEMBERS RECEIVE ADVICE ON WILLS

Members of Crewkerne & District U3A received advice on making a Will and keeping up to date with legislation at their monthly meeting in the George Reynolds Centre. Solicitors from Humphries Kirk, a law firm with an office in the town, said it was important to “review the Will regularly because one day there might be a nasty surprise and plans could go awry.” Changes to the law relating to Wills were introduced in 2014 and it is wise to check them every five years. Solicitors Laura Staples and Sue Nicolson said: “Keeping up to date also involves seeing what happens in the Budget, because more tax efficient ways of leaving money may be introduced.”

Laura Staples told U3A members that the sort of questions they should be asking are: Is the Will still valid, are your executors still alive and capable of doing the job, do you still possess any items that you have specifically mentioned in the Will, that you want to pass on and have you left instructions about the care of your pets. Problems could arise if you do not leave anything to someone who might have expected an inheritance, such as an estranged child. Explain why you are doing this. This can lead off legal challenges and save a fortune in legal bills.”

Members attention was also drawn to the complexities of ensuring that inheritances go where they are intended, in the case of second marriages or cohabitations. Sue Nicolson explained the different types of Power of Attorney from short term, having the authority to sign papers in a temporary absence, to long term in the event that someone is unable to handle matters themselves. Sue said: “I want to emphasize the importance of choosing the right person, because it could involve matters of life and death. For example, should a life support machine be turned off or should the person be given a religious burial. Sue’s talk also covered the area of Probate and the heavy responsibilities this entails for executors. U3A chairperson Sheila Seymour thanked the team from Humphries Kirk for attending their meeting and offering sound legal advice.

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