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The importance of planning ahead

We understand that writing a Will or putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place can feel daunting, which is why it’s easy to put it off.

Many people don’t realise that without a legally valid Will in place, the state will decide who inherits your assets (possessions, money, property and investments), and if you have children under the age of 18, they will also decide how they will be cared for and educated.

If you lose your mental capacity, the state will make decisions about your welfare and finances during your lifetime, unless you’ve already appointed someone to do this for you by putting appropriate Lasting Powers of Attorney in place.

Making a Will and putting Lasting Powers of Attorney in place are known collectively as ‘Estate Planning’ – together they enable you to protect yourself and your family’s interests in the future, giving you and your family peace of mind about what will happen once you’re unable to make decisions for yourself.

At Central England Co-operative, we’re passionate about helping our colleagues and members with the things that matter most in life. That’s why we’re offering Membership Rewards when you choose to create your Will and / or put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place through our trusted Estate Planning partner.

Specialist help and advice

Estate Planning can be quick and easy when you receive the right guidance; especially when you have a specialist to help you complete each step from start to finish.

That’s why Central England Co-operative work with Will & Probate Services, a professional firm of qualified paralegals, to offer simple, straightforward advice on later life planning. Through them, we can offer you expert advice for all types of diverse family situations, ensuring you put the right plans in place for you and your family.

With simple, fixed pricing, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay from the start. You will also have access to specialist advice on areas such as inheritance tax planning and other services that could further help you optimise your future plans.

Offering a high standard of service, up-to-date expertise, and friendly straightforward communication, Will & Probate Services will help you achieve peace of mind, knowing that you have planned your future.

Peace of mind

By making a Will you can feel reassured that you have:

• Specified who you would like to look after your children under 18 years of age

• Specified who should carry out the terms of your Will

• Specified people and/or charities to benefit from your estate

• Protected against residential care costs

• Put provisions in place to protect vulnerable or disabled beneficiaries

• Stated your funeral wishes

Making a Will not only gives you peace of mind but also provides loved ones with reassurance that, after your death, they are doing exactly what you would want.

Most people would like to think that what they have worked hard for all their life is protected and will pass to their family after they die. So it is natural that you might be worried about the impact that Care Costs and Inheritance Tax may have on what’s left to pass on to your family.

Our trusted partners are specialists in Care Cost planning and Inheritance Tax mitigation, so a consultation with them to put the right Will in place for your circumstances is the best thing you can do to give you and your family peace of mind.

Who should make a Will?

Whilst everyone should have a Will in place to ensure their estate is managed in a way they choose, there are some people for whom a will is particularly important:

• Single parents

• Co-habiting couples

• People in a second marriage/relationship

• Parents of disabled or vulnerable children

• Business owners

Our Estate Planning partner has experience and expertise in creating Wills for straightforward and more complicated situations and will create a Will that is tailored for you.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

Along with a Will, many people also choose to put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place when planning for their future.

Lasting Powers of Attorney are legal documents that come into force if you lack the capacity to make decisions for yourself in your lifetime, for example: if you become affected by a stroke or dementia.

They enable you to document your personal wishes so you know that the things that matter to you will be taken care of by the people you trust the most.

There are 2 types of Lasting Power of Attorney: Personal Welfare and Personal Finances; both allow you to appoint someone to deal with your affairs if you are unable to do so.

By having Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, you can rest assured that the people whom you appoint as your Attorneys will be able to:

  • Decide on the care you need, who it is delivered by and important decisions such as life-sustaining treatment
  • Pay your bills, make investment decisions on your behalf and manage your property

You can only put Lasting Powers of Attorney in place when you are capable of understanding the documents; after that it is too late and no one can put one in place on your behalf. Many people don’t realise that their relatives have no legal say in decisions that affect you once you’ve lost capacity, meaning that without Lasting Powers of Attorney in place your local social services adult care team could end up making decisions for you.

Storing and accessing your legal documents

It is important that your original, signed Will is stored safely and that your loved ones are able to find it when you die.

UK Legal Storage are part of the Will & Probate Services Group. They can store your Will, and other important legal documents, from £2.75 a month.


What happens in the first phone call (the free consultation)?

Making a Will is easy, and an expert advisor will be with you every step of the way. During the initial conversation, you’ll be asked a series of simple questions about your circumstances, such as whether you are married or in a civil partnership, whether you own a business, or have children from a previous relationship. You won’t need to have any specific information available at this point and the responses you give to the questions will enable the advisor to determine which type of Will you need. You’ll also be able to ask any questions that you might have. The call should only take a few minutes and at the end you can make an appointment for a longer phone (or video) call during which a Wills specialist will ‘take your instructions’ so that they can draft your Will. When you book your second call, Will & Probate Services will send you their ‘Preparing for your Will appointment’ information pack.

What questions will I be asked when making a Will?

The second call is to ‘take your instructions’. During this call, you’ll be asked about your circumstances including your assets (investments and possessions) and who you want to inherit your things. You’ll also be asked about who you want your Executors to be (the people who make sure your instructions are carried out). You may also be asked questions such as who you want to be the legal guardians of any children you have under 18, or how you want your business to operate in the future. The advisor may also speak with you about inheritance tax or planning for care costs if it is relevant to your circumstances.

How long does it take to make a Will?

This depends on your circumstances, but the conversation to take instructions should last between 30 minutes and an hour. Following the second conversation your will is drafted and checked by a legal professional before being shared with you on a secure portal that you can log in to. You’ll be able to check the details and confirm they are right before the Will documents are printed and posted out to you for signature. This can take around 5 days in total and longer if you want to make changes during the process.

What is the process for making a Will?

The first step is to take your instructions (what you want to happen to your things and who should deal with your affairs). Once your instructions are taken you’ll be asked to sign a letter of engagement and make payment. Your will is then drafted and checked by a legal professional before being shared with you on a secure portal (or posted out) for you to check. When you are happy with it, you’ll be sent a printed copy, which you will need to sign and have witnessed, in order for the Will to be ‘legal’. Don’t worry, you will be given full instructions for signing it. You’ll also be able to view and download the digital copy (draft version) from the portal for your records.

How do I update my Will and how much does it cost?

If you decide to have your Will stored for you you’ll be able to make minor amendments (names, addresses, simple changes, the proportion of inheritance shared by people etc) for free. If you need to make fundamental changes, you may need to make a new Will.

Where do I store my Will?

You can choose where to store your Will – either at home, with a trusted family member or friend, or at a place of secure storage. It’s important to remember that wherever your store it, you need to let your executors know so they can find it when they need to. UK Legal Storage are a part of the Will & Probate Services group and can store your Will for as little as £2.75 a month. Wherever you choose to store your Will, Will & Probate Services will inform your Executors of their duties and provide them with guidance on what they need to do to carry out your instructions. They also register your Will with Certainty, the national Will register at no extra cost meaning it will never be lost.

What is a Mirror Will?

A mirror Will is a pair of Wills for two people with the same intentions (usually a couple with shared assets)

Does my partner need to attend the appointment if we want to make Mirror Wills?

Yes, you’ll both need to attend the appointment where instructions are taken, and you’ll both need to sign your individual Will and have it witnessed to make it legal.

What is a Trust Will?

A trust Will is a Will that caters for particular circumstances. You’ll need a trust Will for example if you are co-habiting but not married / in a civil partnership, if you have children by a previous relationship, are a single parent, are worried about future care costs, and/ or own your own business. You’ll be able to find out which Will is right for you when you speak with an advisor.

What are the two different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney?

The two types are Property & Financial and Health & Welfare. You may choose to take out one or both types as an individual. A Property & Financial Lasting Power of Attorney allows your attorneys to make decisions around your finances including the buying and selling of property, taxes, bank accounts, benefits and managing investments. Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows your attorneys to make decisions around where you live, how you are cared for, whether to give or refuse medical treatment and who can and cannot visit you.

Do I need both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney?

For full peace of mind you may wish to take out both types - most people do. You can discuss your needs and intentions with an advisor at any time, and they will be able to provide you with more details of what each one entails and the protection it gives you.

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