Although it’s unpleasant to think about, it’s really important to manage your affairs whilst you’re still alive and able to do so. If not, you run the risk of things happening against your wishes.
Read our handy checklist below, to see how you can best prepare, ,and ensure your family are protected.
- Discuss unpleasant issues – Although this may be upsetting, it is important to consider what might happen. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
- Keep a financial factsheet – Leave the details of bank accounts, pension, utility providers. List the provider and the product (but NO passwords). This saves your family time, and also ensures none of your savings are lost.
- Inheritance Tax planning – 40% of the value of your estate may go to Inheritance Tax if assets are over £325,000 per person, or £650,000 for married couples. You should review this on a regular basis (Inheritance Tax is due to change April 2017. Click here to see our article on the changes).
- Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) – Should you cease to be able to make decisions for yourself in the future, who do you trust to manage your finances? Arrange an LPA whilst you still have the ability to make decisions for yourself.
- Write/review your Will – This is the most important thing you can do before you die. It’s particularly important once you’re married, have children or have assets. It helps avoid family conflict, and it ensures your partner is provided for (your partner or spouse may not automatically inherit everything).
- Arrange guardians for minors – Children under the age of 18 will need to have a guardian when you die. Ensure you discuss this with your family as this is a huge commitment, and not one they are necessarily prepared to make.
- Plan your funeral – This is usually the last things your loved ones will wish to think about, so save them the hassle and plan it for them.
- Note your wishes for the ceremony
- Organise a pre-paid funeral plan
- Ask for the flowers to be donated to a local organisation afterwards
- If you wish to have a religious ceremony, seek guidance on which rites are needed, if any
- Remember, you can’t take assets with you – Although you may wish to provide as much as you can for your loved ones futures, ensure that you’re still living every day to the full.
- Is an over-50’s plan really worth it? – Although these sound appealing, the small print states that “premiums are payable for life, and you could pay more in than is paid out on death”. Before considering any such plan, seriously consider if it’s right for you.
- Make an Advance Directive – This is also referred to as a “living Will” and allows you to state your wishes towards medical treatments in the future at end of life stage, if you were unable to speak for yourself.
- Make an Advance Statement – Note down how you wish to be cared for towards the end of your life. This isn’t legally binding, however is an efficient way to communicate your wishes if you’re unable to do so. This could include dietary preferences, religious beliefs, who would care for your pets etc.
- Don’t forget the pets! – Pets can be left to someone in your Will. It’s best to check with your loved one first and, if you don’t have anybody, you can leave them to the RSPCA (as long as you sign up to the free Home for Life service).
- Check your life insurance – Life insurance is well worth considering if you’re younger, because if you die, it will pay a fixed amount to your dependents (up to the age of 18). Unfortunately, the older you are, the more expensive life insurance will be.
- Manage your debts – When you die, before your assets can be distributed, all debts must be paid off
- Ensure a close friend or relative knows where your Will is kept.
- Think carefully before releasing equity in your home:
- It may affect means tested benefits
- Consider downsizing
- Ensure the company is a member of the Equity Release Council
- Wait as long as you can
- It may work out cheaper to release the cash in multiple sums
- Speak to an independent mortgage broker
- Don’t do this alone – Ask people for help and support if you need it.
At LCS we care about helping you to protect your loved ones after your death.
Contact us now on 0345 017 8250 to discuss which services are applicable to you, including Lasting Powers of Attorney and Will Writing, to help you plan, and give you peace of mind.