Arranging to formally manage a relative’s money for them is a big step for both of you. For them, it means giving up control and putting trust in someone else with their money and their decisions. For you, it means taking on the responsibility of family financials, it isn’t something to be done lightly. It is a good idea to think about mental capacity now and work out what you and the person you’re caring for might need to do in the future, especially if their health is deteriorating.
Here is some important legal and financial advice to understand how you need to take on the role of a money manager or find someone else who can.
4 Steps to Help Manage a Relatives Will
Set up a Joint Account
While your loved one is still able to make financial decisions, discuss adding a trusted family member or friend to their bank account. This precaution may never be needed but it can ensure that bills continue to get paid if health is poor, or any other health issues leave your loved one unable to make payments, comprehend money or make sound financial decisions.
Set up a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you give one or more people the power to make decisions and manage:
- your money and property, and/or
- your health and welfare.
The appointed person is known as the ‘attorney’ and the person giving someone Power of Attorney is also known as the ‘donor’. Anyone with mental capacity, aged 18 years or older and not bankrupt when signing the power of attorney, can be an attorney in Northern Ireland. This includes a wife, husband, civil partner, partner, friend, family member, or a professional, such as a solicitor.
You can set up a Power of Attorney in Northern Ireland through a solicitor. Attorneys are required to give notice to a minimum of three of the donor’s relatives. If the attorney is a notifiable relative, they can be counted as having been notified.
Appoint who will sort out your estate and carry out your wishes
An executor is a person responsible for passing on your estate. You can appoint an executor by naming them in your will. The courts can also appoint other people to be responsible for doing this job. Anyone aged 18 or above can be an executor of your will. There is no rule against people named in your will as beneficiaries being your executors. This is common.
Many people choose their spouse or civil partner or their children to be an executor. Above all, you must choose somebody you trust. It’s going to be up to them to follow the instructions in your will and to find fair solutions to any disagreements.
Avoid Family Conflict in Advance
Money, even when it belongs to someone else, can bring out the worst in families — particularly siblings if the Will is not as they expected.
Tackle such problems before they fester. Make plans together for care and financial duties, before a loved one gets sick. Most importantly, keep detailed records if you have power of attorney for a parent, and send them to your siblings. Such record-keeping is required by law and being transparent with the family can reduce distrust and head off legal disputes. Don’t let inheritance disputes divide the family. Discuss estate plans with parents while they’re still alive.
Contact one of our expert solicitors
It is greatly beneficial to seek legal advice from a specialist solicitor at McPartland & Sons as soon as possible to arrange for the future and avoid any uncertainty especially, amongst family members.