What happens when the time comes – 10 steps to prepare for the worst

User Written by Cindy-Marie Leicester on February 08, 2016.

What happens when the time comes – 10 steps to prepare for the worst

Benjamin Franklin famously said that there were only two certainties in life: death and taxes. The UK government has kindly made sure that the two coincide in the form of inheritance tax. Originally conceived as a tax on the super-wealthy, increasing numbers of middle class families have been dragged into this net largely due to the value of their homes. George Osborne’s budget announcements last week will come as good news to many homeowners in the UK, who will soon be able to pass a main property worth up to £1m to their children free of inheritance tax.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that once a family member has passed away, those left behind will find themselves dealing not only with grief but also the complexities of probate, piling financial issues on top of the emotional ones caused by a bereavement. You can make this a less stressful time for your loved ones by preparing for the inevitable.

Whilst setting your affairs in order in anticipation of your demise may seem morbid, it is a sensible thing to do. Some of the conversations you need to have may be unpleasant but it is better to have them while competency is not an issue. Unfortunately, the physical and mental deterioration that so often accompany the ageing process can cause problems if things are left too late.

Here are 10 steps to take to get your house in order while you are still compos mentis. I promise you that those you leave behind will thank you for it!

  1. Fill in a financial factsheet – our free download is a useful tool to help you list all your assets in one place.

  2. Sort out your inheritance planning – it could be complicated, especially if you are an expat, so seek expert advice to minimise your tax liability.

  3. Make a will – without one your legacy may not go to those you want it to.

  4. Ensure that you nominate legal guardians for your children – to avoid stress-inducing legal wrangles should both parents pass away at the same time.

  5. Teach others to manage your financial affairs – ensure someone you trust knows how your finances work and what would need to be done if you were to pass away.

  6. Plan your funeral – dealing with grief and making funeral arrangements at the same time can be extremely difficult. If you feel strongly about your funeral, note down as much detail as possible to help your loved ones arrange things as you wish. Funeral costs are another issue you should consider and you may wish to purchase an insurance plan to cover the not insignificant costs.

  7. Spend your cash! – one thing’s for sure, you can’t take it with you so enjoy yourself doing things you love with people you love while you still can.

  8. Consider organ donation – if you’d like your organs to help someone else when you are dead, make sure you make your wishes known to your next of kin. Some countries operate a donor register which you can sign up to.

  9. State how you wish to be cared for if the worst happens – it is worth thinking about what you would like to happen in worst case scenarios. These are tricky questions such as would you want to be resuscitated if the possibility arose, would you rather die at home if possible and so on. It is best to make your wishes known while you are in full possession of all your faculties.

  10. Get help and support – you don’t have to do all this alone. Experts in estate planning, will writing and other specialist areas can assist in getting your affairs in order.

If you would like assistance in preparing a will or other estate planning documents get in touch today - cm.leicester@infinitysolutions.com.

Cindy-Marie Leicester

Cindy-Marie Leicester

Posted on February 08, 2016 in Wills & Legacy Planning.