LPA 'most important estate planning document'

Wills and lasting power of attorney forms are the two most important legal papers to obtain when protecting your estate.

This is the view of Stewart Ritter, senior vice-president of financial services firm Wells Fargo Advisors, who said the first step in estate planning is to create a comprehensive list containing all of your assets.

Writing a last will and testament will ensure that these assets are distributed to family members, friends and other beneficiaries of your choosing upon death. It will also enable you to appoint a guardian to take care of any minor children.

However, Mr Ritter pointed out: "Because a will does not take effect until you die, it cannot provide for management of you assets if you become incapacitated."

For this reason, making a lasting power of attorney is an essential part of estate planning, as it allows you to name another person to act on your behalf if you are physically or mentally incapable.

"You should choose this person carefully, because he or she will generally be able to sell, invest and spend your assets," Mr Ritter advised.

According to a recent survey by children's charity Barnardo's, almost 60 per cent of UK adults have not yet written a will.

Posted by Gemma Roskell

Published on: May 4, 2010

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