Article written by Jeremy Brooks, Solicitor, Private Client department
Nobody likes to think about a time when they are no longer around and talking to loved ones about what you would like to happen after die is often a difficult subject. However, talking about financial and practical matters can help put your mind at ease and make things much easier for those closest to you when the inevitable comes. Similarly, many people find it difficult to talk about money but Talk Money Week which runs from 8-12 November 2021, is designed to make it easier for everyone.
In this article, we look at how to speak to friends and family about your wishes for the future, that covers what should happen to your property after you pass away, providing for those closest to you, and choosing who should take care of your financial affairs should you lose the capacity to do so yourself.
Starting the conversation
It may be that there is a natural starting point to introduce the subject. This is particularly true if your circumstances have changed – through moving house, through the birth or children or grandchildren, or getting married. If you are yet to make a Will or Power of Attorney, this can also be a great way to introduce the conversation with your family.
Discussing your Will
One of the key discussions you will need to have with those closest to you is what should happen to your money and property after you pass away. While your estate may seem straightforward, and perhaps it is even obvious what should happen, disputed Wills are common, and you should take steps to prevent such a dispute.
Following a death in the family, emotions are raw, and many families end up in bitter arguments over property. The best way to ensure the distribution of your assets is straightforward – is to discuss your Will and your wishes with your family, explain why you wish for your property to be distributed as you have set out, and do not be afraid that some people might feel hurt by what you have chosen to do. Wills discussions could even help you decide what is best for your family before you make a Will or encourage you to amend your Will to provide for your family in a way you never previously considered.
Choosing Executors and Attorneys
An important part of planning for the future is choosing who you would like to be responsible for your affairs after you have lost capacity or died.
A Power of Attorney gives someone else the power to make decisions on your behalf after losing the mental capacity to do so for yourself – both in relation to your financial affairs, and decisions concerning your health and welfare. You should choose a person you trust to be your attorney, and you should discuss the role with them in advance and ensure they are able and willing to act for you.
An executor is responsible for administering your estate after you have passed away. This can be quite an involved and time-consuming role, so it is essential that you discuss it with those who you would like to step in. You can appoint several executors, and you may even wish to appoint a professional such as a solicitor to deal with the more challenging parts of estate administration.
To discuss Wills and estate planning or for more information on a Private Client matter, please feel free to email me or contact the department on 020 8858 6971.