Having an open conversation with your family about your wishes should the unmentionable happen is one of the most important aspects of financial planning.
Does your family know of your wishes? Do they know where to go to access information about your finances? This, of course, is also the case should you fall ill or lose capacity as well as passing. We all too often “think” our loved ones know of our wishes, as we recall mentioning it surreptitiously buried in a conversation years ago, whilst discussing a completely unrelated topic… "they’re bound to remember,” you say!
I understand how difficult these topics are, especially when speaking to loved ones about eventualities no one really wants to think about. But it can be strangely reassuring to know that the conversation won’t be necessary again once you have had them unless your circumstances and wishes change, of course.
An important part of the relationship you have with your adviser should be to affect a brief introduction to your loved ones, family, beneficiaries, or legal representatives, or at the very least, ensure they know who to contact and by what means, should they need to.
According to research, 60% of people don’t have an up-to-date will and 8/10 over 55-year-olds don’t have a power of attorney.
If you are one of these people, please give some consideration to the following:
- At the very least, write a will! It’s a vital, cost-effective, and efficient form of financial planning. Dying intestate comes with its own problems; are you aware of what these are? No? Ask your adviser.
- Go to https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney. There is an excellent free guide to what they are and how they work (and instructions on how to complete your own if you’re brave!)
- With many of us living longer, and an increased need for long-term care, this can be another valuable tool to set up before it’s needed. Setting them up after the event can be quite challenging and often expensive.
- Create an “In the event of…” file. Keep information your loved ones or legal representatives will need in one place, along with your adviser's name and contact details.
- Have your children/dependants thought about what the implications of an inheritance or legacy might mean for them? Whilst we’d all rather have our loved ones longer, many people will receive an inheritance. Do you need it? Would it be more efficient to skip a generation? Again, raise this with your adviser.
This list of simple planning ideas is anything but exhaustive but can at least stave off the very worst of the unexpected shocks we see all too often in people not receiving financial planning advice.
Please speak with your family and friends about this subject; you’ll likely only have to do it once.
Please note that the above does not constitute as personalised advice. To book a meeting to discuss this and wider financial planning, please get in touch.