Death is something that most people do not want to talk about, but it is something that will eventually happen to everyone.
In my line of work I talk about death on a day to day basis and I believe it is time for the taboo to be lifted and for families to be able to have open and frank discussions. Here are some of the key things you should discuss with your family/friends or whoever you expect will deal with your affairs once you are gone:-
- First, your funeral. Deciding if you would like to be buried or cremated, where and what type of service – these decisions can be extremely difficult for family and friends and they have to be made quickly and often at a time when they are full of emotion. Take a weight off of their mind and decide in advance. You can leave a letter of wishes, or even better, include instructions in your Will. You could even take out a funeral plan.
- Your assets – do your family know what you have? Do they know where to find key pieces of information? Have you got any online only accounts such as a PayPal account with a credit balance? Make their lives easier and let them know, or have a list stored somewhere safe – but be aware of cyber security issues and don’t save passwords alongside account information.
- Insurance – is it clear who your car, house and life insurances are with? The Executors of your estate will need to ensure that your assets remain insured and that any life insurance payments are collected in.
- Pensions - You should check that you have completed any necessary forms with your pension providers. Pensions sometimes (particularly if you are not yet receiving your pension) pay out large lump sums, often free of Inheritance Tax, and it is best to make a nomination directing where this will pass. If you don’t, it can be up to the Trustees of the pension provider to decide. This is particularly important if you don’t have an obvious beneficiary or next of kin, or if your personal situation has recently changed.
Making a Will and being prepared doesn’t mean you expect to die soon, it just means that you are prepared for the worst case scenario and you want to make life as easy for your loved ones as possible during the most difficult of times.
It is, of course, just as important to consider your wishes about care and medical treatment before you die– you can appoint Attorneys to deal with your property and financial affairs and also your health and welfare if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. These documents are best prepared whilst you are fit and healthy – contact us for more information about Lasting Powers of Attorney.
For more information on making a Will, dealing with the administration of estates or Lasting Powers of Attorney please contact Jessica.Williams@wheelerslaw.co.uk or call 01252 359236.