Taking the time to draw up a plan for your estate can prove to be one of the greatest legacies you will leave your loved ones. A plan clearly setting out what you’re wishes are and where your most important documents are kept can make it easier for your loved ones and take the stress and confusion out of what is already a very anxious and emotional time.
The first step and probably most crucial in developing an effective estate plan is to look at your current situation. Where are you at today and what do you want to do? You should consult with your Financial Adviser, Solicitor and/or Accountant but there’s no time like the present to start getting organised.
- Write down a list of what you own.
- Decide what property you want to include in your Will.
- Decide who will inherit your property/assets, taking on to account whether they are currently owned jointly.
- Choose an executor to handle your estate.
- Choose a guardian for your children, if you have any.
- Choose someone to manage the children’s property.
- If you have pets, it’s a good idea to set out what is to happen to them. Who will look after them?
- Make your Will.
- Sign your Will in front of witnesses.
- Have two witnesses sign the Will.
- Store your Will safely.
- Consider drawing up a Power of Attorney at the same time. You may never need it, but it’s good to have it in place if you do.
- Review your Will and Power of Attorney from time to time as your circumstances can change and you may wish to revise or add a caveat.
- Tell family members or a loved one where to find key documents.
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As a nation, we’re not very good at planning for the future. Procrastination and an unwillingness to discuss the inevitable are common reasons for not having a Will. It’s not a pleasant topic but it’s important to take the time to organise your financial affairs, discuss things with family and follow the steps set out above. We can’t predict the future but we can be prepared for it!