4 Top Tips for Successful Estate Planning

Leave Estate Planning to the Professionals

We all like to take control – we were raised to be independent and work things out for ourselves! That Ikea furniture your son wanted to help you with? Done. Set up. You probably did a better job than he would have done. However, some things are more complex than constructing Swedish flatpack furniture, and Wills are one of them!

When most people think about writing Wills, they think about what they’re leaving for their loved ones, and rightly so. But, this is just one component of a Will – getting it professionally written ensures that you’ll be able to plan for all eventualities. What happens to your estate should your partner remarry? What if you need to go into care? What about Trusts and life insurance policies?

Having a professional take care of the complexities means that all of the i’s are dotted, and the t’s are crossed.

Consider Your Lasting Powers of Attorney

It’s important not to just focus on what you’ll be leaving your loved ones when you pass on. Sure, this is important, but you’ve still got a lot of living to do! When planning your Estate, it pays to think about yourself – you’ve dedicated enough of your life to helping other people, you deserve peace of mind too as you get older.

A Lasting Power of Attorney, or LPA, is a legal document that lets people you trust act on your behalf should something happen to you that renders you incapable of making that choice. They can cover finances, decisions about your home and how your money is managed, your general health and well-being, and decisions about your health and medical treatments.

If something should happen to you and you can no longer take care of your affairs, your family isn’t automatically put forward in your place. If you don’t have an LPA in place, your family may have to apply to become deputies, which can be time-consuming, and many solicitors charge thousands to make the application. 

Know What Happens if You Don’t Have an Estate Plan

​​If you pass on and don’t have an estate plan in place, the laws of the land dictate where the inheritance goes – and the fun doesn’t stop there. Your representatives aren’t legally allowed to divide your estate up as they wish – they have to stick to intestacy rules set out by the UK Government.

This can all be hugely expensive and is just a massive hassle for everyone involved. Taxes and fees can eat away at a huge portion of what you intended to leave to your loved ones, and sometimes they have had to sell off more of your estate just to cover these expenses. 

It goes without saying that the Government doesn’t always (depending on who you ask, of course) get things right, and their rigid rules might not fit exactly with your intentions and what’s best for your family. After all, dealing with your passing will be difficult enough – you don’t want them to receive a financial burden on top of that.

​​Review! Review! And…. Review!

Thankfully, estate planning isn’t like going to the dentist – you don’t need to do a check-up every six months. However, it’s wise to keep a handle on it and update it every three to five years, or if something major happens in your life. 

So, if your son has taken a break from giving patronising advice about constructing furniture and had a child, you might want to think about changing the plan. Or if you have recently had a medical diagnosis or change to your health, your plan probably needs to reflect this. 

Quality estate planners will help you amend your plans whenever you need them and will be able to offer sage advice on how to make sure your wishes are enacted as you want. 

The Planning Bee works with professional probate specialists and solicitors who offer a full range of estate administration services. 

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