It’s not a subject that most of us like to think about, let alone talk about, but planning for when we’re no longer around is an important thing to do.
However, it seems like, as a nation, it’s not something that we’re keen to do. Research has found that around 63% of us don’t have a Will including the surprisingly high figure of 42% of people aged 55 or over*. This means that almost two thirds of us have not specified who will inherit our estate when we die. But when making a Will can be such a simple and straightforward process this is a situation that is often quick and easy to resolve.
We have a great deal of experience of legacy planning. We encourage you to have conversations with your loved ones and write a Will. This will give you the peace of mind that your wishes will be known when you're not around. We've listed below some other things you may wish to consider when planning your legacy. It’s worth considering:
Planning the kind of funeral that you want
By planning your funeral in advance you’ll not only be able to save your family from having to imagine what kind of service you would have wanted, you’ll also be able to be sure that your wishes are known.
For example, there might be a particular piece of music or poem that’s close to your heart or a hymn that’s always meant a great deal to you. But unless you share this information no-one will ever know. And making plans for your funeral needn’t be a task that you have to face on your own; if you ask for help from family and friends they’ll probably be more than happy to give you support.
Bequeathing as much as possible to your loved ones
Of course, you want to leave more than memories as part of your legacy. So if the value of your estate is likely to be above the inheritance tax threshold, taking steps to reduce the amount of tax that will need be payable is something that you can start thinking about now. That way, it could mean less for HMRC and more for the people who matter to you most in life.
Helping others to make decisions when you can’t any more
Once you start thinking about all the decisions you have to make in life, from where to save your money to the medical care you want to receive, you soon start to realise how complicated it would be if an illness like Alzheimer’s or a serious accident meant that you couldn’t make your wishes known any more.
However, if you sign a legal document called a Lasting Power of Attorney (or Continuing Power of Attorney in Scotland) while you’re still in good health it will mean that you can give permission for someone, or a number of people, who you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you do ever become unable to yourself.
Find out more
It might seem a little morbid to be thinking about these sorts of things, but a few practical steps now, which can even be as simple as telling people where they can find your Will, can avoid a lot of heartache in the long run.
And who wouldn’t want to do this simple thing for the people who are closest to you in life?
You can find out more about all these areas of legacy planning and more here and our colleagues at your nearest branch will also be happy to help.
*Source: Macmillan/Opinion Matters online survey of 2,000 UK adults. Fieldwork conducted 1–4 December 2017. Figures based on total population.