The COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone and very sadly, some will have lost loved-ones, friends and family. Whilst death is something that we do not like to talk about, it is an inevitability to us all at some stage. The problem is that none of us know when it will happen.
Whilst you will never be able to prepare for the emotional side of loss (or incapacity) you can certainly prepare for the practical side. What is for sure is that failing to prepare will only add to the stress and worry of those close to you that are left behind.
The following are just a few practical steps that we can all take:
This is a must for everyone over 18. Without a valid Will there is no way of controlling what happens to your assets (or potentially your children) after death. It is also important that it is up to date to reflect both your personal circumstances and the law. In addition, sensible Will planning can provide asset protection and tax efficiency, not only for your estate but for future generations.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Another essential for anyone over 18. Any of us can lose capacity at any time. If we do and we have not appointed Attorneys for both our finances and health everything will effectively go into personal lock-down with no legal way of anyone managing our affairs without the cumbersome, lengthy and costly process of going through the Court of Legal Protection. This is regardless of any personal or marital status.
Keep records and make a list or two
Be it assets, liabilities, protection policies or whatever, one of the most difficult things to do is assimilate this for someone who is no longer around or able to communicate. Just keeping simple lists, up to date, in a safe place (possibly with your Will) can make life for others so much simpler and help to ensure that your voice is heard.
Ask yourself what would happen if?
Considered planning can highlight risk areas that can be plugged with careful planning. Be that savings, protection or other methods. In theory it is possible to protect yourself against almost every scenario. Whilst it may not be practical or affordable to cover every base just running through a life plan with a few scenarios thrown in can give you a better understanding and perspective of your position and vulnerabilities thereby allowing you to choose what, if anything to do about it and how to plan around it.
Your business is no different
If you are a business owner then all of the above apply equally to your business, they just happen to be called different things. In the event of your death you need agreements as to what will happen to both the business and your estate. This is equally true if you lose capacity. The what if scenarios are as relevant and again pretty much everything can be protected and arranged to ensure that any outcome is what you would want it to be.
Take professional advice
The problems can be complex but often the solutions can be relatively simple. That is if you know what to do and how to do it. Getting things wrong or not joining up your planning correctly can have severe consequences. Taking advice and getting it right now can save copious amounts of time money and stress compared to trying to sort it out afterwards.
If you would like to discuss any of the above details, please get in touch with our Financial Planning team.