‘De-risking’ and financial exclusion
After vociferously arguing to the government that will writing should be regulated by statute to protect the public from estate-planning cowboys last year, STEP has launched its own code.
The sad case of Marley v Rawlings, where a couple accidentally signed each other’s Wills really caught the public’s imagination.
It was a simple error with catastrophic results – the Wills were invalid and so the man they had loved dearly and treated as their son received nothing, whereas their biological children, to whom they were not close, got everything.
In July last year, we blogged about the Law Society’s new code of practice for Will writing –the Wills and Inheritance Quality Assurance Scheme (WIQS).
We were concerned that WIQS might not be the best solution for clients because it is extremely long and prescriptive and doesn’t necessarily require lawyers drafting Wills to have particular expertise or qualifications in this area.
Everyone, regardless of their age, should consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This is a document which appoints people to make decisions for you if you were to lose mental capacity – for example if you were to suffer brain damage in an accident or develop Alzheimer’s.
Although the law relating to intestacy and inheritance has been developed to complement societal changes, there still lies areas of potential unfairness, particularly in the case of parents who outlive their children. In this piece, Sarah Playforth discusses the issues.
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