A lot of us do not like to think about what will happen after we die. However, when it comes to finances it is important to be proactive and make sure your finances are in order.
Having a Will in place will reduce stress and make it easier for your family as they will know your wishes for your estate when you are gone.
At Four Wealth Management, our Financial Advisers often help clients with creating a bespoke Estate Plan to make sure that your assets are left to your beneficiaries as you wanted.
Below are some steps you should take to protect your family:
Step 1: Make a will*
If you die without a valid Will in place then your estate is divided according to the rules of intestacy. This can cause delays and be costly for your family. Intestacy rules are unlikely to be in line with your wishes and may mean that some of your chosen beneficiaries do not receive any of your assets or they could receive more or less than you intended.
Step 2: Consider dependants
In your Will you should make it clear how you wish for any dependants to be cared for.
If you are leaving assets to children or grandchildren, a Financial Adviser at Four Wealth Management may suggest that you consider leaving these assets in Trust* for them.
Step 3: Make a lasting power of attorney*
A Power of Attorney is a legal document appointing one or more individuals the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so, if for example you are physically or mentally unwell. The attorney can make decisions in line with the powers granted in the lasting power of attorney, such as making decisions about your property, finances, health and welfare.
Having a Power of Attorney in place gives you peace of mind that someone you trust can manage your affairs if needed.
Find out more about nominating a Power of Attorney
Step 4: List your assets
The easiest way to make sure your family knows about all of your assets is to create a list. Your list should include pensions, ISAs, cash accounts, property and physical possessions. The list should also include any debts or liabilities that need to be paid off when you die, for example if you have a mortgage or credit cards outstanding.
At Four Wealth Management, we give all clients a pack called ‘My Documents’ which makes it easy to list all important information to pass onto your family when the time comes. The pack includes information for people they might need to contact, for example your solicitor or estate agent. You can also include any information they might need such as passwords or account details to make everything as easy as possible for your loved ones.
Step 5: Consolidate your assets
You can make life easier for your family by consolidating your assets before you die. For example, if you have multiple bank accounts or ISAs you could consolidate into one bank account and one ISA to reduce the amount of paperwork that they have to go through when you die. This will also make it easier for you to monitor your assets and performance.
Step 6: Leave easy to access money for your spouse
Your accounts will be frozen when your estate goes through probate and probate can take months to go through. This means your spouse will need sufficient cash in their own name to access while your own assets are frozen. You could either make sure they have an account in their own name or open a joint account. They may be able to access your pension before probate if it is written in trust.
Start Estate Planning today
Contact Four Wealth Management today to arrange a no-obligation financial review with a Financial Adviser to discuss estate planning.
*The writing of a Will or Powers of Attorney involves the referral to a service that is separate from those offered by St. James’s Place. Wills and Powers of Attorney, along with Trusts are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.