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Getting organised with estate planning and wills

Estate planning and having a will helps you to create greater financial security. Find out what is involved and where to get help.

November 04, 2022

Elderly man signing will for estate planning

Planning for the future makes great financial sense 

With financial planning and awareness now a must for all of us, we've put together this simple guide to estate planning with help from the National Bereavement Service. This guide will benefit you and those you care about, now and in the future.

 

What is estate planning?

Estate planning helps you to create greater financial security in the future for you, your family and others you care about.

Did you know over half of UK adults haven’t written a will?

A will is vital, making sure that your estate – from your car and home to savings, investments and objects important to you – is distributed according to your wishes. This protects loved ones and benefits only those you choose.

Estate planning starts with a discussion around your goals and priorities. For example, you may want to provide a continuous income for your spouse. Or you may want to set aside money for a grandchild’s education, or protect assets for your children in case of any future divorce.

With your goals identified, estate planning experts will explore the most practical and tax-efficient options for you, structuring your estate plans to suit your own needs.

 

Elderly man signing a will

Why consider estate planning & making a will?

When you die, your estate may be subject to Inheritance Tax or Capital Gains Tax. In fact, more and more estates are now becoming subject to Inheritance Tax as a result of inflation and rapid increases in house values.

Through professional estate planning, you can minimise the tax bills your loved ones will receive, making sure that your estate benefits the people you care about most.

Estate planning and making a will gives you comfort that your affairs are in order. Your loved ones will know what to expect and will help you to provide long-term financial security for your family, saving time and legal costs further down the line.

 

Planning your estate and will

When you start to plan your estate, you’ll consider key aspects to take care of your financial and personal affairs, including:

1. Making your will

Making a will gives you reassurance that your loved ones will be able to manage financially after your death.

There’s no Inheritance Tax to pay on assets you leave to a spouse or registered civil partner. By planning a will with an expert, you may be able to minimise the Inheritance Tax for other beneficiaries named in your will.

Without a will, your estate may not be shared as you would have wished.

For example, unmarried partners and those not in registered civil partnerships have no automatic right to inherit the estate of their partner if they die (this excludes anything owned in joint names). Your loved ones could also be faced with a sizeable tax bill if you die intestate (without a will).

 

2. Lasting Powers of Attorney

Lasting Powers of Attorney give permission for a trusted person (or people) to make decisions on your behalf if there comes a time when you’re unable to make decisions yourself.

Your spouse or next of kin isn’t automatically entitled to make decisions relating to their health, welfare and finances if you lose mental capacity.

Having LPAs in place makes sure that decisions will be made in your best interests by people you trust if you’re unable to make decisions or care for your financial affairs yourself. 

 

3. Inheritance Tax planning

The current Inheritance Tax threshold is £325,000 which means no tax is payable on the value of an estate up to and including this amount (called the ‘nil band limit’). 

When the value of an estate exceeds the nil band limit, the amount above the limit is taxed at 40% (at current rates), unless the estate has been left to a spouse or registered civil partner.

Professional estate planning considers how you can reduce Inheritance Tax liability for your loved ones. For example, through your will, life insurance policies, tax efficient trusts and tax efficient gift allowances.

 

Plan for your future with support from Taking Care

We offer our personal alarm customers a dedicated helpline, provided by the National Bereavement Service, to support them with questions they may have about bereavement and estate planning.

If you would like more information about helping older relatives organise finances or coping with bereavement, we have several useful guides in our Resources and Advice section of our website.

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