Traditionally, we are used to talking about bucket lists and naming all the amazing things we want to do or places we want to go before we die. Talking about and planning for our own death is not something that would normally feature on such a list but unless death is planned for and action taken, when the worst happens loved ones can be left not only grieving and emotionally distressed but also financially out of pocket with a mountain of bureaucracy and paperwork to climb.
In order to be maximally effective death planning should involve:
1. Having the difficult conversations with friends and family.
A survey by Dying Matters in March 2016 identified that half of Britons in relationships don’t know their partner’s end of life wishes. Does your family know your wishes and do you know theirs? If not, why have you not had the conversation? What happens if grieving relatives disagree about what the deceased may have wanted? In this country, many of us don’t like to talk about death and dying and yet death is an inevitable part of life. Planning for it gives peace of mind and will ensure that when the worst happens, your loved ones are left best placed to cope with it.
2. Considering whether your assets need to be protected during your lifetime as well as considering how you would like them to be distributed after your death. A Will can only share out what is left when you pass; if your assets have been significantly depleted during your lifetime there may be very little left to share out through the Will. The good news, however, is that by planning in good time there are a number of ways you can prevent this from happening.
3. Writing your Will. A Will, as indicated above, shares out what is left when an individual passes away. The Will states who is to receive what. Did you know that without a Will in place there is no provision for an unmarried partner to benefit from your estate? Taking action, writing the Will and then ensuring the process is completed by the correct signing of your document is essential.
4. Planning your Funeral. For many families, a death results in a financial burden for those left behind. The average cost of a funeral in 2015 was £3693 (Sun Life Cost of Dying Report, 2015) which is a lot of money for your family to find at a very difficult time. The 92% increase in funeral costs over the last 11 years means that rate of funeral inflation is much greater than the rate of any savings growth. Many people now recognise that paying for funeral costs through a Funeral Plan makes complete financial as well as emotional sense.
5. Planning for Inheritance Tax. Did you know that when Rik Mayall passed away in 2014 his family was left with a significant inheritance tax bill which could have been foreseen and avoided if he had engaged in effective death planning.
6. Putting into place Lasting Powers of Attorney. In the event of you losing mental capacity, be it through illness, accident, dementia or any other cause, have you considered who is going to make decisions on your behalf? Did you know that without a Lasting Power of Attorney in place even your spouse will not be able to take over the management of those assets in your name or in shared names?
7. Identifying whom you would like to look after any young children. A Will is the mechanism whereby parents can officially identify whom they would like to care for their children in the event of their death.
8. Making sure your loved ones know where important documents are kept. It is no good whatsoever having given thought to all of the above, having planned and put everything into place if nobody can find the official documentation or are not even aware that it exists. Many of our clients keep their key documents with us in our secure, independent storage facility so they can feel safe in the knowledge that these will be safely looked after and then easily obtained when needed.
9. Enjoy yourself! Life is for living, enjoy it. While it is nice to be able to pass something on to loved ones upon your death, during your lifetimes your friends and family will want you to enjoy every minute so spend some of those savings, have a good time and make memories!
At The Will Associates, our trained consultants in the Bristol area can discuss your personal situation and recommend the products which will give you maximum protection during your lifetime and best look after your loved ones upon your death. Our empathetic team are very used to working with clients from all backgrounds and all walks of life. If you have something to protect and you care about who inherits this after your death call us for a free, no-obligation appointment. Ring The Will Associates on 0800 847 7050 today.