If you’re anything like me, your time in lockdown has involved taking part in countless quizzes, eating copious amounts of banana bread, trying (hopelessly) to become Tik Tok famous, and not to mention going full Alan Titchmarsh on your garden. But what now?
Avoid unnecessary stress and cost in the future by considering the following questions:
When was the last time you reviewed your Will?
A Will is a crucial succession planning tool that I advise everyone should have in place. Even a simple Will can avoid costly and problematic scenarios further down the line.
Normally the costs involved in putting a Will in place are far less than having to deal with even a simple estate where there is no Will. Your Will is your own document and it can be tailored to your specific needs and situation. It ensures your affairs are dealt with efficiently, in line with your wishes and with minimal stress to your family.
Have you appointed a Power of Attorney?
It is important to think about appointing someone who could deal with your affairs on your behalf, either right away or when you are not able to do so any more.
A Power of Attorney provides your nearest and dearest with the power to assist you with your finances and welfare. Without this, they may not able to be involved with these matters and issues can arise further down the line. You should ensure you fully trust the people you appoint as they will be granted wide ranging powers. Without a Power of Attorney, your family may have to consider the costly and lengthy route of applying for guardianship through the courts to have access to your finances and make decisions about your care.
Do you have a vulnerable beneficiary in your family?
It is important to ensure that the most vulnerable people in your life are taken care of and protected as much possible. Whether that be creating a trust for a family member with additional support needs, or just ensuring any inheritance is retained until your children reach a ‘sensible age’, this should always be looked at carefully.
Are you familiar with how the law deals with modern family structures?
The law tends to be slow at moving with modern times, so make sure you are aware of how your estate would be divided in line with your family structure. Couples who are unmarried or who have children from separate marriages should be especially careful when planning for the future.
Have you looked over your pension recently?
Most people pay into their pension over a number of years, so these usually have a high value. Despite this, most of us don’t really consider or fully understand how our pensions work. The majority of pensions are normally distributed separately from the Will and in line with pension nominations and the discretion of the pension provider.
There is a lot more flexibility with pensions these days, so ensure you keep your nominations up to date and seek professional financial advice to investigate your options.
Do your finances cut the mustard?
Whether you just want to ensure you will have enough to see you through retirement, or you are looking for some help in properly investing your piggy bank, always consider taking on board professional financial advice.It is amazing the benefit that can be received from a few pointers or a push in the right direction. Taking solid advice now could ensure your finances are in order for the foreseeable future.
There’s a lot to consider, but taking the time now can give you peace of mind going forward.
Not sure where to start? Our Private Client and Wealth Management teams at Blackadders can advise you on all of the above. Please feel free to get in touch for a free initial consultation to see if we can help.
John Dargie, Legal Director
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