It is fair to see that 2020 has been a challenging year for us all, and now as we start 2021, many of us are looking ahead and planning for our future. We are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to going to visit family and friends, enjoying the simple pleasures in life again, and feeling safe when doing so.
January is always a time when we reassess our lives and look ahead, and this year perhaps more so than before. In addition to the usual plans of eating healthier, exercising more, and living a less stressful lifestyle, putting our financial affairs in order and planning for our future should be something that we all consider.
A key plan is to make a Will. Putting your wishes in black and white is not complicated, nor expensive, and when preparing a will, you are bringing peace of mind for yourself and those you love. Making a Will allows you to express your final wishes clearly, and without one you are leaving it up to the law to decide how your estate (your money, possessions and property) is passed on – and this may not be the way you wanted it. While death, and our treatment until death, can be a difficult topic to think about, it is important to consider making your wishes known now in the event that you cannot make them later.
Some areas to consider:
- Have your circumstances changed recently? Married? Divorced? Kids? Re-married? Make sure your Will is updated when your circumstances do change. If you want a specific family member or friend to take care of your children but that person is not your next of kin, then you need to ensure you designate that person specifically in your will.
- Children – if you have children under 16 you should decide who looks after them and ensure there are funds to help.
- Owner of a small business – without an executor, and if you are a sole director, your business could collapse.
- Non-traditional family? Unmarried couples or not in a civil partnership? In the eyes of the law, a couple who are living together don’t have the same automatic rights as a married couple when it comes to sorting out a deceased person’s estate.
- Property – make sure you know what happens to your house.
- Inheritance Tax – a Will can also help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind.
- Funeral plans – detail what you want so family members don’t have to make these decisions in difficult circumstances.
- If you die before you take your pension pot, make sure you have nominated someone to collect it for you. If not, it may be up to the pension trustees to determine who gets the money.
Get in touch with McDougall McQueen today to discuss your personal affairs and bring peace of mind to yourself and your family by having everything in order.