Estate planning advice and checklist: secure your legacy
Estate planning is about more than just writing a will. Managing your assets, providing for your loved ones, and minimising tax liabilities is an extensive and often complicated undertaking that requires you to take a comprehensive approach.
Written by specialist consultant solicitor, Rebecca Head, this guide explores the nuances of securing your legacy via estate planning and provides a helpful 11-point checklist.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of securing your family’s financial future and ensuring that your assets are distributed as per your wishes. In England and Wales, you’ll need to navigate a complex legal and accounting landscape to transfer your assets in the most tax-efficient way.
An experienced team can help you to make informed decisions as you get your affairs in order. At Richard Nelson LLP, we understand the emotional and practical significance of estate planning. Working in close partnership with tax accountants and financial advisors, our expert probate and estate administration solicitors can assist you in safeguarding your legacy.
Early estate planning is vital
Without a careful and considered approach to planning your estate, issues can arise with distributing assets amongst your family as you’d intended – and the outcome is often that those closest to you have to pay more tax than they otherwise would. Here are some of the top reasons to begin planning your estate from an early stage of life.
Protecting your loved ones
Estate planning ensures that your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. You can make provisions for your spouse, children, and other dependents to secure their financial wellbeing.
Estate planning solicitors can help you navigate the intricate world of Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax, ultimately reducing the tax burden on your estate. This means more of your assets will go to your beneficiaries.
Avoiding family disputes
A well-crafted Will can prevent family disputes and conflicts over your inheritance. It provides clarity and instructions for the fair distribution of your assets, in line with your wishes.
If you have minor children, estate planning allows you to select suitable guardians who will care for them in your absence.
Guaranteeing peace of mind
Knowing that you have a well-thought-out estate plan in place offers peace of mind. You can rest assured that your wishes will be honoured.
Estate planning checklist
Writing a Will is what comes to mind for most people when considering estate planning, but in truth this is really just the first step on a longer and more nuanced journey. Below, we’ve provided an estate planning checklist to help chart out your course.
1. Create a Will
- Determine how you want your assets to be distributed.
- Appoint an executor to handle your estate affairs.
- Choose guardians for minor children if applicable.
2. Consider Trusts
- Determine if trusts can benefit your estate plan.
- Explore options like Discretionary Trusts or Life Interest Trusts.
- Decide on trustees to manage the trust assets.
3. Inheritance Tax Planning:
- Assess your estate’s potential liability for Inheritance Tax.
- Explore available tax exemptions and reliefs.
- Consider gifting assets to reduce your estate’s taxable value.
4. Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA):
- Set up LPAs for financial decisions and healthcare.
- Choose attorneys you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
5. Consideration of Lifetime Gifts:
- Understand the implications of making gifts during your lifetime.
- Be aware of potential tax consequences, including the seven-year rule.
6. Review beneficiary designations:
- Ensure beneficiary nominations on insurance policies and pension funds are up to date.
- Check for consistency with your overall estate plan.
6. Digital assets:
- Document and safeguard information related to your digital assets, including online accounts and passwords.
- Specify how you want your digital assets to be handled.
7. Funeral plans:
- Consider pre-paid funeral plans to ease the burden on your loved ones.
- Communicate your preferences for your funeral arrangements.
8. Review and update your estate plan:
- Regularly review your estate plan, especially after major life events (marriage, divorce, birth of children, inheritance, etc.)
- Ensure that your estate plan remains aligned with your current wishes and circumstances.
9. Consult with a solicitor:
- Seek professional guidance from experienced solicitors.
- Engage a solicitor to help you navigate the legal complexities of estate planning.
10. Inform your loved ones:
- Communicate your estate plan to your family and beneficiaries.
- Ensure that they are aware of the arrangements you have put in place.
11. Secure important documents:
- Safeguard important documents, including your Will, LPAs, and any trust documents.
- Let your chosen representatives know where to find these documents.
Remember that estate planning is not a one-time task, but rather an ongoing process. Regularly review and update your estate plan to reflect changes in your life, financial situation, and goals.
Seeking professional legal advice from experienced solicitors like those at Richard Nelson LLP can help ensure that your estate planning is effective and legally sound. Get in touch today.
We can help you plan your estate
We offer a comprehensive range of estate planning services to meet your unique needs. Our experienced private client solicitors will work closely with you to develop a tailored plan that aligns with your financial goals and family circumstances.
Our services include:
- Will drafting: We will help you draft a legally sound Will that accurately reflects your wishes. Whether you have a simple or complex estate, we can guide you through the process.
- Trust creation: Trusts can be a powerful tool for asset protection and tax efficiency. We can create and manage various types of trusts to meet your specific objectives.
- Inheritance Tax planning: Our solicitors are well-versed in inheritance tax planning strategies, helping you reduce the tax liabilities on your estate.
- Lasting Powers of Attorney: We can assist you in setting up Lasting Powers of Attorney, ensuring that your financial and healthcare decisions are handled by trusted individuals should you become unable to do so.
- Estate administration: We can handle the complex legal and administrative tasks associated with executing your estate, from probate applications to asset distribution.
Estate planning is a responsible and forward-thinking step that ensures your legacy is preserved and your loved ones are provided for.
At Richard Nelson LLP, we are dedicated to guiding you through the complex world of estate planning, making the process straightforward, and helping you achieve peace of mind. Contact us today to begin securing your family’s future and safeguarding your hard-earned assets.
Your legacy deserves the attention of experienced solicitors, and we are here to help you every step of the way.