Important actions to put your affairs in order
3 minute read
Getting older can sometimes prompt people to reassess priorities and start planning for the future, both in terms of financial security and taking care of loved ones. In this article, we'll consider some areas you might want to think about
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1. Write or update an existing Will
Having a valid Will in place is the only way you can ensure that your wishes are carried out when you pass away. Without having a Will in place the law decides who inherits, not you - this is known as the intestacy laws.
There are a lot of misconceptions about how the intestacy laws work but it is important to note that your spouse does not necessarily receive everything if you were to die without a Will. Also, if you live together as a couple but are unmarried, your partner could receive nothing.
Making or updating your Will can correct that. It is a simple, quick, and relatively inexpensive process to make a Will.
2. Make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
Many people do not consider what would happen to them should they lose mental capacity during their lifetimes. Making a Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to choose who would make decisions for you in these circumstances.
Those decisions can include:
- Financial matters
- Property management
- Health and care decisions
- End-of-life matters
If you do want to appoint a Lasting Power of Attorney, then it is important to keep all documents relating to this in one easy-to-find place. If you do not have these documents in a known location and lose mental capacity, then your family may have to make an application to the Court of Protection for a ‘Deputy’ to be appointed to make those decisions for you. You are not in control of who that Deputy should be and the administration work and cost are significantly higher than putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney now.
3. Consider future care needs
As many of us are living longer, we all need to consider how we will be cared for when perhaps we need assistance to do that. Planning for care is important and you should seek advice from a financial adviser as to how to ensure that funds are in place. Similarly, you should speak to a legal advisor about how to ensure your estate is protected.
4. Consider Estate Planning
You can either create an estate plan independently or with a professional. This plan will detail your total assets, including:
- Financial accounts
The plan will also detail how you would like these assets to be managed when you pass away. This process can also be a helpful way to understand how your assets will be affected by taxes, such as Inheritance Tax.
5. Review your pension arrangements
Speak to your pension provider and/or financial advisor to ensure you have adequate provision in place. Pensions are always managed separately from Wills, so you will need to tell your pension provider who will receive your pension pot when you pass away.
6. Review Death In Service payments
If you are in employment and are entitled to a Death in Service benefit, then you also need to tell your employer about who you would want to receive it if you were to die whilst still in employment. Again, this cannot be dealt with in your Will.
It is also a good idea to let the person drafting your Will know about your pension and death in service arrangements.