End-of-Life planning is more than writing a Will. It is about making your final wishes clear and protecting your loved ones long after you’ve gone – perhaps for generations to come.
It can include anything from deciding how your belongings will be shared, to making your preferences for funeral arrangements known.
There are many benefits to advance planning, such as reducing stress, financial difficulties and family fallouts during a time of bereavement.
End-of-Life planning tends to save time and money in the long-run. It gives all concerned greater peace of mind.
People often ask us what the most important rules are. Here are our top five:
1. Define Guardians in your Will.
If you have children under 18, arguably the most important reason to write a will is to define guardians.
Generally speaking your assets go to your children by default.
But without named guardians, the local authority could be put in charge of decisions around the care and finances of your child.
This would be the case even if a relative has responsibility for the day to day care.
In worst case scenarios, your children could be placed in care.
I know most of us parents want the best for our children. This doesn’t need to stop when we are no longer around.
2. Arrange a Health Power of Attorney.
If you were to be incapacitated, would you want the local authority to make decisions around your health and wellbeing?
If you would prefer a family member, next of kin or trusted person to have this authority then you need to take out a Health Power of Attorney.
3. Arrange a Wealth Power of Attorney.
If your partner looks after the family finances, arguably your priority should be to make sure they set up a Wealth Power of Attorney.
Without a Wealth Power of Attorney, any bank accounts your partner has could require a court order to access them – even if they are jointly held.
This can prove costly and time consuming. You would not have access to potentially much needed funds in the interim.
4. Consider a Trust.
At a minimum, you need to understand how Trusts could help you and your family.
Did you know your own children could lose out on their inheritance if your partner remarried?
Or that your child might have to give away half their inheritance if they divorced?
A trust can help protect future generations from such events.
A Trust offers far greater flexibility in stating your wishes and providing financial support. It also promotes financial responsibility.
5. Consider the handover and other options.
Writing a Will is a start. But there are many areas to consider when it comes to protecting your family home and assets - as well as ensuring your final wishes are carried out.
Speaking to a specialist is the best way to understand the different types of Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorneys and other legal documents that may be relevant to you.
Here at kinherit we also provide a handover service, which helps saves time, money for those dealing with (and ultimately those inheriting) your estate.
We also provide an online secure vault, to ensure your assets are accounted for and not among the billions lost in unclaimed inheritance each year.