Get your legal house in order for 2015: 5 jobs you must do this year

If you’re thinking ahead and making plans for 2015, you should make sure that all of your legal documentation is in order. Unfortunately, you never know when you might need to have a Power of Attorney (POA) to help a family member; alternatively, if you become ill or are in an accident those left behind will regret that you never made a will. Use the New Year to start organising your legal affairs.

1. It’s never too early to make a will
If you think that you’re too young to make a will, think again. You may be in perfect health and then fall ill, unexpectedly. If your disease is terminal, you won’t want to spend your last few months of life visiting lawyers. A will is a legal document that ensures your possessions are given to those you nominate after your death and also that all your wishes are carried out. This is very important if you are a cohabitee, and your belongings may go to a blood relative rather than your partner.

2. POAs can help in many different circumstances
If you draw up a POA for a close relative or friend, you can act on behalf of that person and help them manage their finances should they suffer from any health problems. A POA doesn’t just apply in cases of ill health, you can use one of these to authorise an agent to act on your behalf if you’re buying a house. According to the financial website This Is Money, ‘making preparations early could save family members at least the headache, if not the heartache,’ in the future.

3. Copy your passport
With an increasing number of people travelling to all corners of the globe, the risk of losing your passport or having it stolen is also growing. One way in which you can protect yourself is to obtain a certified copy passport before you leave the UK, and keep the copy in a safe place. Vanner Perez Notaries can certify any such documents.

4. 2015 may be the year that you’ll create a business invention
You might be a nascent James Dyson, and if you are clever enough to create an invention, that looks as if it could be produced commercially, then you’ll have to get the proof of ownership registered, in other words, your trademark. The last thing that any new business wants is to develop a new product, only to discover that lack of registration means you can’t protect your brand.

5. Buying a property overseas
A growing number of Brits are buying their first home overseas, according to the financial blog Digital Look. If you are thinking of joining them, then make sure that you carry out some research and discover the legal documents that you’ll need in advance of the actual buying process. It would be criminal to have to pass up on an opportunity just because your documents weren’t in order.