4 Important Legal Documents Everyone Should Know About

Knowledge is power, goes the saying. And this saying holds true, more so when it comes to legal matters. On the contrary, in matters of law and order, the general perception can be either ignorance or unawareness. To understand and grasp legal matters in-depth is a whole different kettle of fish. There are terms, laws, clauses, and documents that only a legal professional like a lawyer can comprehend and explain.

You will find complex laws, confusing terms, clauses, and key documents that only a legal practitioner can comprehend and explain.

You may not be a legal eagle and maybe are unfamiliar with the common terms used in everyday legal parlance. This does not mean you can overlook or feign ignorance about the essential documents that concern you when living in the UK.

This raises the question – what are these essential legal documents? 

Let’s take a quick look at the top 4 important legal documents that need your attention and awareness.

Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

It is a document recognised by the law that permits authority to one or more individuals to make decisions on your behalf. It is entrusted if and when you are unable to do so due to illness, incapacity, or other such circumstances. Today convenience is at your fingertips, as you can get a power of attorney online; through trusted websites. You can craft a Power of Attorney in just three simple steps.

Here, you are the ‘donor’ and the people you assign the authority are the ‘attorneys’. Usually trusted friends, family members or colleagues are chosen for this purpose. In the UK, you will find this document available in two types – Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and General Power of Attorney. 

The key difference between the two lies in how long the document remains legal. The General Power of Attorney document is valid from the moment it is signed till the donor is unable to do the mentioned tasks with complete soundness of mind or the specified timeframe has run out. On the other hand, an LPA’s validity lasts a lifetime.

Depending on the purpose of the LPA, there are two types – Health and Welfare LPA and Property and Finance LPA.

What is a Health and Welfare LPA?

An LPA that permits your attorneys to make decisions concerning your physical and mental welfare is a Welfare and Health LPA. 

What is a Property and Finance LPA?

Similarly, Property and Finance LPA allows your attorneys to manage and make decisions around your property and finances.

Assigning a Power of Attorney to someone is a powerful decision that needs to be made after much careful thought. When you are ready to do so, looking for a legal firm offering power of attorney online is the next step.

At the same time, you need to know your duties and responsibilities towards your donor if you are appointed as an attorney.

Last Will

last will and testament

A Last Will and Testament – commonly referred to simply as a Will – is a document that defines what should happen to your assets posthumously.

Wills are available in many types with each having a specific and distinct purpose.

Simple Will – It is a basic Will for leaving their assets and estate to a loved one. 

Mirror Will – This Will is for couples who leave the estate to the surviving partner and then to the beneficiaries.

Trust Will – It creates trust(s) within a Will to protect your assets on behalf of your near and dear ones once you have passed away.

Important to Note – a Will for a single person is referred to as a ‘single’ or ‘basic’ will.

Certificate of Birth

What is a Birth Certificate?

It is a legal document holding significant details of an individual’s birth. It includes important information including the person’s full name, place of birth, birth date, and parentage.

Within the UK, your birth certificate holds tremendous importance, acting as a gateway to help you access various entitlements and services. Be it for healthcare provisions, educational opportunities or social security benefits, your birth certificate takes care of it. 

By securing and retaining this legal document, you can prove your identity and assert your rights across various stages of your life. 

Marriage or Civil Partnership Certificate

marriage certificate

What is a Certificate of Marriage or Civil Partnership?

It is a legal document giving proof of your marital or civil partnership status.

Why is a Marriage or Civil Partnership Certificate Important?

In the UK, getting married or forming a civil partnership comes with legal rights and responsibilities. These can include tax benefits, inheritance rights, and recognition as next of kin. Keeping your civil partnership or marriage certificate means you and your partner can rightfully claim these benefits and rights.

To Sum Up

Life is uncertain and you cannot predict what lies in the future. Keeping this very fact in mind, it is better to arm yourself with the requisite knowledge well in advance before a legal curveball is aimed straight towards you. 

Hoping this post helps you become aware of the importance the above 4 legal documents – power of attorney, last will and testament, certificate of birth, and marriage and civil partnership certificate – hold in your life.

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