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Friday, 9 September 2016

Putting your affairs in order

After working for many years in the Local Authority Adult Safeguarding Team, and working with those who are facing probate and related issues.  Organising your finances towards the end of your life can be a big help to those you leave behind.  Here, we aim to outline the steps you need to take.

None of us want to think about our own immortality let alone discuss it.  However, by being pragmatic about your own demise is in both yours and your family's best interests.

Here at the Edith Ellen
we have worked closely with a leading firm of solicitors to compile this support.  However, we highly recommend you discuss this with your own solicitor and families.

Making a will allows you to set out what should happen to your money, possessions and property after you die.  If you die without one, known as dying intestate, your family is likely to find the process of dividing up your estate more difficult and time-consuming.

It also means there's no guarantee your estate will be passed on in the way you'd like.

Choose your executor and beneficiaries: when writing your will, you'll need to name executors - the people who'll be responsible for distributing your assets in the way you've requested.  Executors can be named as beneficiaries in your will, but cannot act as witnesses.  Your executors can be relatives, friends, or even a solicitor.

Minimise your inheritance tax bill, sensible financial planning can help your family avoid paying thousands of pounds in inheritance tax. 
Make gifts, pass on your pension, set up a joint account.

Currently, you can leave an estate worth up to £325,000 - anything above this amount is taxed at a rate of 40%.  If you are married, any assets you leave to your spouse or civil partner are exempt from IHT and any allowance you didn't use is passed on to them.  This means your spouse or civil partner can potentially pass on an estate worth £650,000 when they die without breaching the threshold.  

Set up a lasting power of attorney: as you get older, your health may begin to decline, which could make it more difficult for you to manage your finances.  This is where lasting power of attorney (LPA) - known as 'continuing power of attorney' in Scotland and 'enduring power of attorney' in Northern Ireland - can help.

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