You wouldn’t buy a car or a house without taking out insurance – even your family pets and technology devices probably have their own insurance cover! – so why do so many people put off making a will and sorting out end of life planning?
The answer’s fairly obvious: no one really wants to think about that stuff. It’s all a bit morbid and grim and scary and we’d rather bury our heads in the sand and tell ourselves we’re not old enough to worry about any of that yet, thank you very much.
But the truth is, there’s never a good time – or a bad time – to be planning for end-of-life care, or ‘futureproofing’ your home, your family, and your assets. The time is now! Because it’s really not as awful as you’re imagining – the process is generally pretty straightforward, and once it’s done, it’s done. Then you can go back to forgetting all about it.
First of all, you need a Will. This can be as quick and painless as simply getting together a few documents and paying a quick visit to your solicitor. You’ll need to make a list of assets, liabilities, and details of any dependents (and who you’d like to look after them if you pass away before they’re grown up), along with how you’d like to distribute your estate. If you already have a Will, it’s worth checking in every so often to see if it needs updating, for example if you sell or buy property, start a new business, receive inheritance or make significant investments, get married, divorced, or welcome a new arrival into your family. Whenever there’s a big change to your circumstances, make a reminder to update your Will accordingly.
See? Not so difficult, was it? And while you’re there, you might as well sort out Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA), too. An LPA is somewhere between life insurance and a Will, helping to protect your wellbeing and finances if you should find yourself unable to do so in the future. There are two types of LPAs available, one for health and welfare and one for finances and property. In each case, you need to appoint an executor (someone you trust to manage your affairs) and put down instructions for how you’d like these issues to be handled. Your solicitor can help you cover the specifics but in general this might include: making decisions about healthcare, living arrangements and day-to-day care, dealing with finances, investments and savings, buying or selling property on your behalf, and liaising with third parties such as care providers, HMRC, or the benefits department. Just like making a Will, LPAs needn’t be complicated, and can be quick and straightforward to sort out. You just have to stop putting it off…
Finally, you might want to think about arranging equity release to help prepare for retirement, nursing care, or in conjunction with your end-of-life care plans. Equity release allows you to free up capital from property without having to sell it, enabling you to cover the cost of care while still remaining in your own home, and retaining assets to pass onto your loved ones. You’ll need the advice of an experienced solicitor to help you figure out the best way to do this, and it makes sense to consider these options while you’re sorting out other futureproofing issues like your Will and LPAs. Your solicitor can also help you to reduce your inheritance tax, and deal with all other aspects of property, conveyancing, probate, and end-of-life planning.
Having all your legal affairs in order can be a huge weight off your shoulders – especially if it’s something you’ve been putting off. Our friendly team at Frances Lindsay & Co are here to help, and make things as simple and straightforward as possible. Get in touch at www.franceslindsay.co.uk or call 01628 634667 to book a consultation.