3 Top Tips for Estate Planning
Who will make all your important decisions if you are no longer able to?
We all know we need to make provision for passing on but let’s not forget about making arrangements for when we are still alive. No matter what our age, there are times in life when we might need someone to turn to for help with our financial affairs and with our health and welfare.
Most people tend to think of end-of-life planning (or Estate Planning) as pretty morbid but Estate Planning can protect you and your assets.
It is important to have this in place during your life to enable you to plan and protect your assets in the event you become incapacitated or can’t make decisions for yourself.
Appoint a Power of Attorney
If we aren’t able to speak up for ourselves, who will do that for us? A Power of Attorney will let you appoint people you trust to do it for you.
A Power of Attorney is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lose mental capacity at some point in the future. It also allows them to make decisions for you if you no longer want to make those decisions for yourself.
Your appointed attorney can make decisions on your health matters, and on your financial matters…or sometimes even both. You can decide when Power of Attorney comes into effect. This could be either immediately or in the future.
- A Continuing Power of Attorney enables you to appoint someone to look after your property and financial affairs either straight away, or only if you lose the capacity to do this yourself.
- A Welfare Power of Attorney enables you to appoint someone to make decisions about your health and welfare but only if you are unable to do this yourself.
Make a Will
Have you ever heard of families fighting over assets after a loved one dies? It happens more often than you’d think, but it’s not something that we would want our families to do once we have passed away.
When it comes down to it, deciding who will inherit your estate is a big decision and an important part of life planning.
If you don’t make a will, there are laws in place which will decide who is entitled to inherit your money and property. However, this may not be who you would have wanted to inherit.
It is a good idea to write a will as this lets everyone know your wishes for after your death. You can write your will yourself, but it is safer to use a solicitor as problems can arise after your death if there are mistakes or if the will is not entirely clear.
Plan Your Funeral
Research has shown that 22% of people did not know anything about the type of funeral their family member would have wanted. Shockingly, it seems that only 9% of people have written down their funeral wishes.
Having conversations with family and friends about death and dying is difficult. It can bring up lots of uncomfortable emotions which is why we tend to avoid the topic.
However, planning your funeral can take the pressure off of loved ones after your death.
Some people buy a funeral plan so that their family doesn’t have to worry financially. Many families are shocked at the price of a funeral and at the extra costs which can be involved.
For detailed information about registering a death, arranging a funeral and sorting out an estate when someone has died see the Scottish Government publication