What would happen if you or a member of your family were taken ill, or even died?
None of us likes to talk about death or serious illness, but the fact is that doing so may save you a great deal of difficulty in the long run.
Knowing the wishes of your loved ones can make the process of dealing with a difficult situation much easier. Not only that, but you can get peace of mind from knowing that everything is arranged so that, if anything happened to you, your family will have everything they need.
Most people know they should have a will in order to make their intentions clear. However, wills only come into effect when a person dies; if someone becomes seriously ill and is incapacitated, can their loved ones access the money they need for care, support or just day-to-day life?
It may be uncomfortable, but we recommend having those conversations now and taking expert advice. There are a few areas you may want to consider.
Making a will doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive – simply confirming the person or people you want to leave everything to is enough. Even if they are your closest relatives and it seems obvious, it can make the process much easier than if you were to die without anything official in place. We can work with your solicitor to ensure your assets are not only left to the people you want to receive them, but also are done in a tax efficient manner.
Estate planning allows you to take steps to minimise the tax implications of anything you leave to your family, enabling them to make the most of your legacy. We use our experience and detailed knowledge of tax legislation to help our clients ensure their hard work in life pays off in what they leave behind.
What would happen to your business if you died? If you are a sole trader or lone director, you need to ensure you have a plan in place to pass the value of your business on to the right person.
If you are in a partnership or are a shareholder, planning is just as important, for you as well as your colleagues. Without an agreement in place, your share of the company or partnership could automatically pass to your next of kin – who might then have a say in the future of the business, regardless of whether they have the expertise to do so.
If you want the value of your business to be passed on, and your colleagues want to ensure they are happy with the way things would happen if you were no longer around, it’s worth having those conversations now and getting the right advice to ensure everything is clearly arranged.
Lasting power of attorney
While people have a will in place, in many ways it is just as important to make arrangements in case you are incapacitated. If you are taken seriously ill or involved in an accident and unable to make decisions yourself, your family need to be able to do so on your behalf.
Your income could be vital to your family in an emergency situation. They may need to access money to pay for your care, make provisions for unexpected travel or childcare, or simply pay the routine bills. If you’re not able to work, how long would your usual pay continue? Could your family access your savings? And what provision have you made for delegating those important decisions to the right person? It’s worth considering all those questions now, before the need arises.
Meanwhile, you need to consider what would happen to your business if you were unable to run it. Having a contingency plan in place is vital to keep things running while you’re out of action, whether it’s for a few days, a matter of weeks, or even months or years. The last thing you and your loved ones need is the stress of seeing your income dry up while your debts continue to grow.
In everything we do, we look to minimise your tax obligations, and that remains the case with our probate service. We are used to working alongside executors of wills as well as advising families who may be dealing with complicated situations following a bereavement.
While we are always happy to help in these circumstances, we believe the best thing you can do for your family is to plan ahead. With our support, you can put everything in place to minimise your tax obligations and leave as great a legacy as possible behind.
For more information, call us today on 01423 564446.