Death happens, so you might as well plan for it.

Sounds morbid but really it’s actually practical given the degree of financial difficulty dying intestate can create for those grieving for you.

Money Savings Expert Martin Lewis has compiled a checklist of 20 things you need to consider when planning for the financial well-being of your family. The check-list includes tips on wills, inheritance tax, funerals and setting up power of attorney.

Over the next few weeks we will cover each of the items. If you can’t wait and want to read the full article now, it’s on his website


Death planning guide: the 'unpleasant issues' chat

Some things aren't best avoided. Hopefully you've still got decades of fit body and mind ahead, but there's a chance you might not.

The mental incapacity or death of a loved one's hard enough to deal with, but often the financial complications can add a huge unnecessary blow to the pain of it all. Whether it's you who wants to avoid the subject, or your loved ones who'd rather not face it, it's certainly not something you should put off.

One solution is to simply have a day when you discuss with your partner and/or dependants what you want, and how things should be organised. Doing it in one go makes it easier – it shouldn't be morbid – and it's best to be open and practical.

If you’d find it easier, as there’s a lot to discuss, you might choose to spread the chat over a few days instead. As well as equity release and wills, issues worth considering include:

  • A financial factsheet. Are you the only person who knows the details of your bank accounts, pension, gas and electricity provider or more? When someone passes away, often merely the process of finding out these facts can be painful. Putting all the crucial info somewhere secure so it can be taken over by someone else can be very helpful. If not, some of your hard-earned savings may be lost. The safest thing to do is simply to list the providers with a rough indication of the product, but don't list your passwords. Age UK's free LifeBook is a handy resource to help keep track of this important info, and can be sent in booklet form or via email.
  • Inheritance tax planning. This needs doing early. If your estate's likely to have inheritance tax issues (assets, including property, of over £325,000 or £650,000 for couples), the sooner you tackle it, the better. Many ways to mitigate it involve giving assets away at least seven years before someone dies. 
  • In case your faculties fade. It's a thorny issue, but if you had difficulties that meant you couldn't make decisions for yourself any more, who would you want to take over your finances? It's far easier to arrange the potential for a power of attorney while you're still fully aware and able to take the decisions yourself – even doing this 20 years in advance isn't a problem. 

We have produced guides to help you with Probate matters and also understanding Powers of Attorney.  Our Estate planning team can help with both of these as well as with inheritance planning. Our probate and estate team team includes; Stephen Whiskin (Partner), Phillip Povey, Jamie Robinson, Carolyn Armstrong, James Hadley (Head of Private Client) and Ann Turnbull. To talk to one of the team, please call us on 01787 277375 or use the online form.

Estate Planning and Probate