Whether you’re buying your first home or adding to your portfolio, it’s an exciting time. To protect your home through to retirement and beyond, here are two important tools you can rely on. Tools that are more far reaching than insurance, security, or the other usual suspects!
Buying a house is the perfect time to think about how you’ll protect it in future, in case there’s ever a scenario where you can’t manage it anymore.
Insurance protects you if something happens to your house. A Will and Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) protect your home if something happens to you.
Cathy Maccracken, Partner at Birchall Blackburn Law explains:
“It can be hard to imagine becoming unwell or worse. However, buying a house is a perfect juncture to get your affairs in order. Rather than thinking you will get around to it ‘at some point’, writing a Will and making your LPA should be top of your to do list.”
Why buying a house is the best time to get a Will
The uncomfortable reality is that the worst could happen to any of us, at any time. If you die, what you include in your will dictates how your property and assets are divided amongst your loved ones.
However, our team see too many cases where a homeowner has died without a Will, in the mistaken belief that their full estate automatically goes to their spouse or partner (which isn’t always the case). The spouse or partner then has to deal with unexpected financial issues – even moving house – in the midst of losing their loved one.
If you’d like to leave something for specific family and friends after you’re gone, a Will is the only way to ensure your wishes will be followed to the letter. A house is a big asset, while building your life there today, it’s sensible to think long term, too.
How a Lasting Power of Attorney protects your assets
Medical specialists now say at least a third of us will suffer illness as we age. 1 in 3 over 65s will be living with Dementia, which can lead to a loss of mental capacity. When that happens, somebody else has to make decisions for you. These could be minor day-to-day issues, or major financial decisions, involving how your assets are handled, or are sold to pay for your care costs.
As with Wills, people assume their partner or family will automatically be empowered to act on their behalf if they lose mental capacity. This isn’t always the case. If you haven’t registered an LPA and then lose mental capacity, the Court of Protection will appoint someone as part of a strict legal process. They can and do select people who are not known to you such as a professional deputy, local Council or some official body.
“Make sure to make and register your LPA as early as possible. This is the best way to guarantee that anyone managing your affairs, is a person you’ve chosen.”
Buying a house is a happy time of course. It’s understandable that you don’t want to worry about potential problems. Rather than ignore them, give yourself the gift of certainty, by formally detailing your wishes, then put the topic to the back of your mind, safe in the knowledge it’s all taken care of.
If you’d like more information, or to set-up a Will and register your Power of Attorney, contact our friendly team who can support you with expert advice every step of the way.