Caversham Bridge Newspaper – January 2022
The following article is in the Caversham Bridge newspaper – January 2022. Caversham Bridge Newspaper is available to purchase from Fourbears Bookshop and other outlets within Caversham. More details from The Caversham Bridge Website.
What is Estate Planning?
Most people have a good idea what a Will is, but a quite a few are not sure what Estate Planning is.
There is a perception that only the rich and the famous have an ‘estate’, this is not true – we all have one. Granted some may be grander than others but your estate is essentially everything you own, from your pensions and life assurance (depending on how they are set up) to your house, your car, your jewellery, even your golf clubs!
The process of estate planning allows you to put together a clear plan that details exactly your wishes regarding how you would like your estate to be managed and distributed on your death, or managed during your life time should you become incapacitated.
The main areas of estate planning that I discuss with clients are:
- Ensuring that only those you want to benefit from your estate do.
- Provision of care for yourself in your lifetime should you have an accident or lose mental capacity to look after yourself or make your own decisions.
- Ensuring that your loved ones will also, if needed, be looked after by people you trust.
- Ensuring your business continuation, or a planned and fair exit of it for your loved ones if that is your wish.
- Help for your beneficiaries who may not have the experience or responsibility to deal with an inheritance.
- Ensuring that loved ones are not burdened financially on your death.
- Help, if you are not sure who you want to look after your estate, and all the responsibility that comes with it.
To cover all of that, what do you need to think about doing?
The first item to tick off your list should be your Will. It is the bedrock of your planning and should be completed first or checked to see that it is still valid and covers your requirements.
Trusts which can be set up within or separately to your Will – they act as an effective extra layer of security, to protect your assets or those receiving them.
Lasting Power of Attorney which allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions both financial and on health matters should you lose the capacity to do so in your lifetime. Without LPAs, both you and your loved ones can be considerably burdened and have unnecessary expense should something happen to you.
Transparency of your wishes is a must. Your Will is very much based on the what and the how, and not on the why. Your estate plan should include documentation providing transparency on your wishes to ensure that there is no room for misinterpretation or possible claims against your estate which might harm your intended beneficiaries.
Clear records of your estate. Are you sure that your loved ones really know everything about your estate? Where can they find all the details of your policies, pensions, assets etc. through to who you would like at your funeral? With our Lifebook all this vital information is stored in one place, making the task of managing your estate after your death so much easier on your loved ones.
Hopefully this guide is useful and has set you thinking about your overall Estate Planning, we greatly encourage you to look into this, and if you have not yet taken the first step.. get a Will as soon as possible!
If you would like to discuss your estate planning, please contact us to set up a free and no-obligation consultation.