Estate planning

Designing the legacy you want to leave for your loved ones

Developing a lifelong financial plan, that enables you to live the life you want, is a rewarding and exciting experience. After all, what’s the use of working hard if you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labour? But if you want to make sure your loved ones continue to enjoy the benefits of your carefully-made plans when you’re no longer around, you can’t ignore the importance of estate planning.

Estate planning is the process of making a plan, during your lifetime, to manage and distribute your estate (your possessions, home, money etc.) after your death. Importantly, it provides clarity around your future wishes while you’re still around, reducing the chance of any arguments or legal issues when you die. A sound plan can also help minimise the amount of unnecessary Inheritance Tax (IHT) your beneficiaries might have to pay on your estate.

Getting started with estate planning

The best place to begin is writing a will. This provides detailed instructions on who should inherit your estate, when, how, and in what proportion. You should also consider setting up a Power of Attorney, which effectively puts trusted guardians in place if you become unable to manage your own affairs during your lifetime. 

A loved one’s death causes grief and distress, so it’s natural you’ll want to try and help ease that burden if you can – that’s why estate planning can be so valuable. Going through the estate planning process will also help you understand whether you can afford to offer financial support to loved ones while you’re still alive. There will be IHT implications to consider, but providing support now could have a bigger impact than leaving an inheritance – and you’ll be around to see the benefits. 

Estate planning isn’t a one-off event. That’s because your circumstances will change throughout your life, and because the rules around tax, savings and inheritance are complicated and subject to change. And if your estate includes assets in more than one country, you’ll also need to understand how the rules around residency might impact your estate.

To ensure your wishes are reflected, make sure estate planning is regularly on the agenda when you meet with your financial planner.

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