For the past year, any plans we made, or any that we might have hoped to make, have largely gone out of the window. We have been living through strange times, where the freedoms we used to take for granted have been replaced by our own concerns for the health and wellbeing of our loved ones and Government restrictions.
Making the most of time in lockdown
After months on the COVID-19 rollercoaster, many of us have stopped planning anything beyond the weekly food shop. It’s hardly surprising in the wake of so many cancelled holidays and celebrations, but there is one thing that the pandemic should not prevent you from planning for: the future financial security of your family.
Lockdown is the perfect time to sort out the personal admin that many of us know we should tackle but never get round to and ensuring your financial and physical assets are working as hard as they can for a more secure future, should be at the top of the list.
What is estate planning?
The definition of estate planning is the process of deciding what should happen to your money and other assets when you die.
Estate planning is a clear plan that shows how you'd like your estate to be managed when you die or are unable or unwilling to make decisions for yourself.
Used in conjunction with writing a will, estate planning protects the assets that you wish to pass on to family members and friends in the event of your death.
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy; if you own anything of value (including your home), have money in the bank, or any investments (including a pension), estate planning will help you to secure a more comfortable future for you and your loved ones.
The benefits of estate planning
During the pandemic, we may have lost some of the control over our own lives that enabled us to plan ahead. Estate planning can be a helpful way to take back control, not only of your finances but of the lifestyle and wellbeing you and your family will enjoy in the future.
There are several benefits to estate planning, and these include:
- Gaining a more in-depth understanding of your estate
- Reduce exposure of your assets to threats such as divorce, separation, and bankruptcy
- Minimise potential inheritance tax
- Opportunity to assess how sustainable your income is over the long term
- Help loved ones plan for the future
How to get started with estate planning
The first step with estate planning should be to take account of all your assets. This can be in the form of pensions, properties, savings accounts and even family heirlooms. Taking a full account of how much your assets are worth and how much you may leave behind is a crucial step in estate planning.
From there you can look at how you would like your assets to be divided up. This is ultimately a personal decision and you may want to discuss it with your loved ones. Ensure that you broach the subject at the right time, in the right way and in the right place, as this is not necessarily an easy topic and discussions of inheritance and estate planning can be highly emotional.
It is advisable to find specialist advice to make sure you consider all the options and have the right documentation in place, prior to estate planning. An estate planning professional will not only consider the assets you have but will also work with you to understand your goals and priorities so that they can advise you on the best options to meet your needs.
Once you have an estate plan in place you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you have laid the firmest foundations for your family’s future. Estate planning is as much about enabling people to live, as it is about dealing with an estate after death.
Support for when you need it
Dealing with death can be difficult no matter when it happens. Being prepared can help to make an emotional time less stressful. For more guidance and advice on what can happen after a loved one passes away, the National Bereavement Service provides several useful supports. This includes legal guidance on how to prepare for what comes next when someone passes away.
This guest post was written by Adroit Legal Services.