You may have seen the series of programmes on the BBC with Gerry Robinson helping people through difficult decisions regarding their wills and estate planning. This is a very important subject, and is one which is often neglected by people who we meet.
The value of a will
Many people we meet do not even have a will, and of those who do, many are completely out of date. A will can be vital in a number of ways.
The primary goal of a will is to ensure that your wishes are taken care of. This is important, since if you die without a will your assets may be distributed in ways you did not plan.
Your family’s security
Using a will can ensure that the money goes to who needs it. This is particularly important if you have complex affairs (such as owning a business), or have a complicated family situation (say a second marriage).
Future care needs
You may be able to ensure security for your spouse by creating your will in such a way that your main residence is not forced to be sold if one of you needs to pay for care fees in later life.
It is important that everyone has a will, no matter how straightforward your affairs, and you should review your arrangements every few years.
Financial Planning and wills
Financial planning usually comes into will planning at the tax mitigation stage, usually advice centres around avoiding inheritance tax issues. However, we feel that it should be more fundamental that that since you need to understand more basic issues such as:
How much is enough to live the life you really want and never run out of money?
If you can answer this question (through comprehensive financial planning ), then you can decide how your assets can be divided. If you can see that you already have enough to fund your desired lifestyle for the rest of you life, and have excess assets, then why not start to distribute your assets before you die? You will get the benefit of seeing your money going to work (through gifts to your family, or to charity), safe in the knowledge that you really have enough to fund your lifestyle. The way to do this is through lifestyle financial planning.