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Spring clean your legal life with these tips - Editorial by.Matt Barrett

We all look forward to Spring as the end of Winter doldrums. Spring is the season of hope and new beginnings. We anticipate its arrival, looking out for each snowdrop and cherry blossom as they unfurl from cold ground and bare branches, heralding longer days, the feeling of the sun on our backs and a chance to turn off the eye-wateringly expensive heating.

Just as important as de-cluttering and home organisation at this time of year, is getting your house in order from a legal standpoint. 

We often put off these jobs thinking them complicated or able to wait for another day. Yet the reality is that, with the right guidance, they can (and should) be done easily now to give you and your loved ones the best opportunity for a carefree Spring and Summer. These are my expert recommendations for the Top 5 legal matters to address to ensure family health, wealth and days of sunshine are safeguarded:

.1. Write AND check your will.

·It’s never easy to think about death – our own or that of older family members. However, an up-to-date will guides the bereaved through our last wishes and eliminates confusion and contention.

·If you already have a will in place, check it. Is it current? Have you had any children or grandchildren since you made it? Have any other circumstances changed? Importantly, where is it? Make sure it’s held in safe care for you.

2.Make plans for your future health and financial care.

·Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) grants advocacy on your behalf to one or more people, should illness or an accident render you unable to conduct your own financial or medical matters.

·Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert has been recommending them a lot lately - he famously has his own in place. LPA can be drawn up now but not activated until the very moment it becomes necessary.

·If you are a carer for a loved one, their LPA can aid administrative communication. If you agreed it with family members when you were last all together, and not done it, act now. The LPA document can bring great peace of mind.

3.Explore Estate Planning.

·When you work and save hard all your life, Estate Planning is the area of law that enables you to protect all you have achieved.

·You can safeguard retirement savings and ensure your children benefit from the fruits of your labours by implementing legal tools such as Trusts and Lifetime Gifts.

4. Check when your fixed-rate mortgage ends.

·Like any other legal contract, it’s important to allow sufficient time to read and research exactly what you’re signing.

·Don’t leave things until the last minute and find yourself with no time to explore or negotiate better terms. Ending up on Standard Variable Rate (SVR) may not be advantageous in the current economic climate and can be avoidable.

5. Have you ever considered starting your own business?

·If this is the dream, it can be hard to pull together all the information you need to discern whether your vision really does have legs.

·A full-service legal firm can advise you on how to create your company; commercial premises; customer contracts; employees; finding finance – everything you need to get up and running. And yes, the legs/running pun is intended.

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