New Year Resolutions

May we take this opportunity of wishing you a happy healthy 2019.
When the festivities are over and the Christmas decorations have been put away make sure that your legal and financial affairs are in order. If you need any help with this then you can contact one of us at one of our Dixon Stewart offices in New Milton, Highcliffe or Bransgore.
In particular think:
1 Do I have a Will? A new survey by Will Aid has revealed that more than half of parents in the UK with children under 18 have made no will. There are regional differences with 63% not having wills in the south west. Writing a will is a chance for a parent or parents to leave clear instructions about who they would like to care for their child in the event of their death. If you die without appointing a guardian, and there is no other parent with parental responsibility, an application would need to be made to the court to decide with whom your child will live in the event of any dispute about this. Having a correctly worded will with a solicitor is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out. Although the act of writing a will can be upsetting, the pain and disruption for your family if you have not written one is likely to be far worse.
2 If you have a will is it up to date? There have been a number of changes in the law particularly in relation to inheritance tax in the last 10 years and so it is important to ensure that the will you have is effective for the purposes of inheritance tax saving. You can contact one of our Dixon Stewart offices and ask us to carry out a free review of your will.
3 Do I have a lasting power of attorney in relation to both health and care and property and financial affairs? It is important that you have these documents in place so that if you become mentally incapacitated (in the case of a health and care lasting power of attorney) or physically or mentally incapacitated (in relation to a property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney) then the person or persons you have chosen to look after your health and care or your property and financial affairs have a legal document in place enabling them to do this on your behalf. In the absence of such a document if you lose mental capacity then an application would have to be made to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy. An application to the Court of Protection is a much longer process; it is more expensive and the person who acts as your deputy would not always be the person you had chosen.
4 Book a holiday or a trip away so you have something to look forward to. That is not a legal or financial matter but just thought we would add it in to see if you were paying attention.
Once again a happy healthy new year to you all. We hope we may be of service to you in 2019.

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