“Is it really necessary, can’t we sort this out next year?”. We know that’s what plenty of people think when faced with the question “have you thought about planning for your future?” With busy lives, relationships with friends and family and possibly grandparent duties to balance, we understand that taking the time to put proper plans in place might not be at the top of your to-do list.
With this in mind, over the next six months we are sharing a regular series of blogs to cover everything you need to know about planning for your future. From talking to our clients we understand this can seem like a daunting prospect, but we hope the information in this series will help you understand your options and empower you to plan effectively for you and your family.
As well as demystifying the legal options, we will try and liven things up a bit, with posts covering everything from financial information and even the top ten funeral songs (yes, there really is a chart dedicated to this). We’ll also look at how to plan for your future care needs and practical information about medical intervention, as well as how best to speak to your family and friends about your plans.
To kick the series off, we begin our first post by looking at the benefits of planning for your future.
It’s not just a Will
When people think about planning for their future they probably think about making a Will. We’re all aware how important this can be, however there are other things you can and should consider.
The first is Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), as there might be a time in your life – whether it be through illness or possibly travel – when you may require someone else to handle your affairs. Putting in place LPAs which can cover both your financial decisions and those relating to your health and welfare, can alleviate any concerns you may have about decisions being made if you lack the capacity or are unable to do so.
Another option you may wish to explore is an ‘Advance Decision’, sometimes known as a ‘Living Will’. This is a legally binding document that allows you to set out which medical treatments you do not want to receive in the future if you were in a position where you couldn’t make these decisions for yourself.
There are many benefits of planning for the future and this doesn’t just mean peace of mind for you (although that is vitally important). Putting plans in place for your lifetime and after death, and ensuring you have the right legal documentation to support these decisions, will make things far easier for your family and/or friends when they are sorting out your affairs. Crucially, it also means they don’t have to guess your wishes if it’s all been considered by you beforehand. This can not only be extremely comforting at what is a difficult time, but is likely to reduce the risk of any arguments and the likelihood of challenges made on your estate.
When you are putting in place your plans you will naturally choose the people who you trust the most to deal with your affairs and who can be relied upon to carry out your wishes. This includes your Attorneys, the Executors of your Will and any Trustees you may appoint for ongoing trusts.
Having the right people appointed correctly is essential to ensure that your beneficiaries, the people you would like to benefit from your estate, receive your items of significant value – both personally and monetary. During the process inheritance tax is another important consideration as planning effectively will ensure that the minimum amount of tax is paid on your estate.
We know that considering a plan for the future can be emotional and that some of the conversations and decisions involved with this aren’t easy. However, not having a plan in place is worse for your family when the time comes and they will take comfort from knowing your wishes are in place.
To talk about any of the issues raised in this blog please contact us, we’d be happy to help.