Are you ready? Make time to get your affairs in order!
Life Matters for Lymington from Lester Aldridge: address what will eventually happen to avoid stress and upset for others.
There is one thing that is certain in life and that is that we will all die. It is not an easy fact to digest and for many, death is a taboo subject. However, by failing to discuss and address what will eventually happen, you could be causing stress and upset for those you leave behind.
This month in Life Matters we feature an article from Lester Aldridge Solicitors about the importance of ensuring that your affairs are in order so that your Executors and loved ones are prepared and fully equipped to deal with your estate.
Extra time off over Christmas could for some be a good opportunity to tick some of these boxes on the todo list which are always "important" but never seem quite "urgent" enough!
Are you ready?
Many people will leave getting their affairs in order until they are “old”, unwell or have a need to prepare for the worst. It is much easier to deal with these matters earlier on in life and once everything has been arranged, all you need to do is keep your affairs updated rather than having to start from scratch.
Top tips for being 'ready'
- Make sure your Will is up to date (or make a Will if you don’t already have one). However big or small your estate it, having a Will will ensure that you have someone named to deal with your estate after you have passed away. It will also ensure that the people you want to benefit will benefit. (Read more about making a will in our Lester Aldridge Life Matters feature here).
- Get tax advice. Not everyone will pay Inheritance Tax but are you aware of the exemptions and reliefs available? Inheritance Tax is a complex area and it is worth paying for advice from someone who is suitably qualified. Tax planning is also not something that can be left to the last minute. Careful and effective tax planning needs to start earlier in life so it is important to get the appropriate advice, tailored to your specific circumstances. What works for one family will not necessarily work for the next.
- Get financial advice. When you lose your spouse or partner, you also lose a source of income. Are you financially prepared to deal with this situation? You should also consider whether your assets are invested in the best way for you or whether there are more tax-efficient investment opportunities.
- Check that you have appropriate powers of attorney in place. Have you considered what would happen if you lost the capacity to manage your affairs and make decisions regarding your health and welfare? Your “next of kin” has no legal authority and it is, therefore, important to make these decisions and put arrangements in place for the people you trust to act on your behalf. (Read "Lasting Power of Attorney demystified" here).
- Organise your paperwork. We would recommend that you retain most documents no older than 2 to 3 years unless they are important for some specific reason. They are rarely ever useful beyond 2 or 3 years and only serve to clutter the desk. It makes the job of sifting through the papers and sorting them out more difficult for your executors.
- Keep a list of assets or, at least, organisations to contact on your death. In a digital age, there is not always a paper trail to evidence accounts and investments. If your Executors do not know of the existence of an account then the funds cannot be claimed and your loved ones would lose out. (Read "What happens to your digital assets after death" here).
- Keep your important papers located together where they can be easily found (or tell your Executors where to look). This includes birth certificates and marriage certificate. If you are a widow or widower this may also include the death certificate and grant of probate for your late husband or wife. It will also include your original Will (or a copy of it) along with any deeds to your property. If the original will and deeds are lodged with a firm of Solicitors, make sure your loved ones know who to contact when the time comes.
- Consider planning your funeral. Arranging a funeral is never an easy task but you can make arrangements before you die. Many funeral directors will now enable you to plan your funeral so everything is in place and your loved ones are relieved of the burden. Even if you do not go as far as speaking to funeral directors, perhaps prepare a letter containing your wishes or even discuss your wishes with your loved ones.
Preparing for your death is not an easy task but it does make things easier for those you leave behind. Getting everything organised now will also save time and money in the long run!
Free consultation with Parisa Jones
You need to be sure that the person with whom you're sharing your "life matters" is worthy of your trust and confidence.
Which is why Paresa Jones, Lester Aldridge specialist in wills, estates, tax and trusts, is happy to offer a totally free and no commitment initial consultation. This meeting can take place in person at your home or the Lester Aldridge offices in Bournemouth, or on the phone as preferred. You can talk over the specifics of your situation with Parisa, and take things from there.
Parisa qualified as a solicitor in 2012 and specialises in wills, estates, tax and trusts. She joined Lester Aldridge covering the New Forest in July 2019, having previously worked in Lymington so she knows the area well. It is important to ensure that your legal affairs are always up to date and Parisa offers a friendly face to support you during the various stages of life. She has a wealth of experience in dealing with a broad spectrum of clients with different needs and requirements. Parisa deals with matters with sensitivity and empathetically but also offers a proactive approach with practical solutions.
Life Matters for Lymington and the New Forest
For a full list of all the Life Matters articles by Lester Aldrige Solicitors published on Lymington.com so that you can read the ones which interest you, please click this link
About Lester Aldridge
Lester Aldridge Solicitors are based in London and Bournemouth where the office covering the New Forest is situated conveniently close to the main Bournemouth train station. Their specialist teams in the various fields of law will be happy to advise and assist you, starting with a completely free initial consultation during which you can decide whether you feel able to trust them with your confidential information. For more information please click here.