How can you protect yourself?
Updated: Sep 30, 2022
It’s all change at the moment, isn’t it? We are back to school, we have a new Prime Minister, and now also a new Monarch. The British economy is suffering from soaring prices, labour unrest and a national health service burdened by long waiting lists and staff shortages.
So, what can do you? How can you protect yourself?
Here is a short checklist to follow before the end of the year, to get your house in order: -
· Do you have a will (or trust)?
· Does it need updating?
· Have you checked how your property is registered?
· Do you need a declaration of trust?
· If you’re not married, do you need a cohabitation agreement?
· Have you got lasting powers of attorneys both in relation to your affairs and your business?
· If you are a landlord granting leases, are you protected?
· Have you got aged debtors in your business?
To ensure your estate is taken care of promptly, a will or a trust should be put in place. Your loved ones will be able to handle your last wishes much more easily in your absence when they are outlined clearly.
You should review your will every 5 years, and after any major life changing event, for example:
· getting separated or divorced
· getting married (this cancels any will you made before)
· having a child
· buying property / moving house
· you inherit a substantial amount of money
· if the executor named in the will dies
· a beneficiary passes away before you do
· you can’t find your original Will
You cannot amend your will after it’s been signed and witnessed. The only way you can change a will is by making an official alteration called a codicil. You must sign a codicil and get it witnessed in the same way as witnessing a will. There is no limit to the number of codicils you can add to a will.
For major changes you should make a new will. Your new will should explain that it revokes (officially cancels) all previous wills and codicils. You should destroy your old will by burning it or tearing it up.
Do store your will in a safe place. You don’t want to have to request probate because a will is lost. Inform your executors where your will is stored for future reference. We store our clients wills at no charge. We recommend you check whether your storage facility carries a charge. And remember to inform your solicitors if you (or your executors/trustees) change address.
Are you protecting your land and property from fraud?
You can take steps to protect your property from being fraudulently sold or mortgaged, for example ensuring your address is up to date at the land registry.
You’re more at risk if:
· your identity’s been stolen
· you rent out your property
· you live overseas
· the property’s empty
· the property is not mortgaged
· the property is not registered with HM Land Registry
You can track changes to the register or put a restriction on your title if you think you’re at risk.
Where your clients default on your payment terms we can issue a letter before action, arrange and monitor a payment plan and if necessary commence litigation.