Let’s be honest, dying is not something that you particularly want to think about, let alone the idea of dying tidily. However, for those you leave behind it can make an already distressing and emotional time even more difficult if they are left trying to guess what you would have wanted, or are unable to find important information in a mass of paperwork and clutter. So, here are a few simple things that you can do to help your loved ones.
Make a Will
First and foremost, making a Will is the best way to ensure that your intentions are carried out as you wish them to and is the quickest way to get your affairs in order. Ensure that you make a Will with a suitably qualified professional, ideally a solicitor, so that the likelihood of the Will being challenged after you die is reduced. Homemade DIY Wills are the source of much litigation which is costly, time consuming and can tear families apart. Ensure that the relevant people know where your Will is stored so they do not have to spend time investigating its whereabouts.
Keep all of your important documents in one place. This saves time but also reduces the risk of something being missed. Your Executors will be responsible for providing information relating to your assets and the value of your estate so in order to do this, they must be made aware of all of your assets and liabilities.
Create a box or a file clearly marked for the attention of your Executors containing all the documents relating to your assets and debts. This would include things such as life insurance policies, bank details, investment details, pensions, property titles, mortgage or loan documents etc. It is also a good idea to keep a balance sheet to summarise your assets and liabilities so your Executors have a place to start from.
It is also very important to keep a record of any gifts you have made as the value of such gifts could be taken into account for Inheritance Tax purposes if you die within 7 years.
In an increasingly digital age, many of your assets may only be accessible online and this can cause problems if you die without leaving details of how to access them. It is therefore a good idea to have at least one trusted person who knows your passwords. If you have multiple online assets with different account details, it may be worth investigating Digital Vaults which are starting to appear on the market. These are essentially what they say on the tin – it is a data storing facility where you can have all of your account information in one place which is securely encrypted. The benefit being that your trusted person need only remember one set of log in details to be able to access all of your account information. Of course, the appeal of such a service depends on your level of cynicism for internet security!
It will be up to your family or Executors to clear your house once you have gone so if you have kept everything since your children’s baby clothes, they will have a big task on their hands. Clearing your home will help ease the burden and may even prove to be therapeutic to you! If there are any items that you would like to pass to a specific person, it is a good idea to keep a note of this as you go that can be stored with your Will so there are no arguments later down the line.
Plan your Funeral
Not knowing what a loved one would have wanted at their funeral can be a source of distress for those left behind. You can help ease their concern by either taking out a pre-paid funeral plan during your lifetime or you can simply make arrangements yourself and discuss these with your family. By having some sort of arrangement in place, this means that your family have one less thing to worry about and they can take comfort knowing that the funeral arrangements are those that you chose yourself. However, ensure that your family and/or your Executors are aware of any such arrangements you have put in place and leave the details with your important documents as we mentioned above.
We know that it’s not the nicest topic to think about, but knowing that you have made your loved one’s lives that little bit easier after you have gone can be a great comfort and relief. If you need any further information or if we can assist you with making a Will, please contact Herrington Carmichael on 0118 977 4045 or email email@example.com