It’s good to TALK: Our inheritance planning solicitors in Barnstaple are here to help you and your family plan for the day when you are no longer around.
Nobody can doubt that death is a conversation stopper, but when you add in personal finances as well it tends to make it even more awkward for families to talk about. However, discussing your Will with your family is so important. It will mean fewer issues to resolve and less confusion for those who are left behind.
Those who avoid these discussions can leave their loved ones facing difficult financial and emotional questions at a time when they are grieving.
Having ‘THE TALK’
The first step is to try and move away from thinking of estate and inheritance planning as solely a financial conversation. Instead, think about it as one where you weigh-up what is important to you and your family and the type of legacy you wish to leave.
If you give your family the heads-up that you’d like to talk about your Will at a set time then it will give them a chance to think things over in advance.
There’s no blueprint for when and how you should have ‘the talk’ as it really depends on the relationship you have with your family. Whether you speak to family members individually or bring everyone together depends on your family situation.
By listening to your family and discussing their wider life-plans, you’ll likely form some new ideas about how you wish to divide your estate. For example, one of your children may wish to start their own business and so would appreciate a cash injection, whilst another may desire a home of their own. They might also care a lot about an object they regard as having sentimental value.
TALKING about your finances
Discussing personal finances isn’t an easy conversation, but do remember that there’s no rule to say that you must talk about the actual figures. Instead, you might wish to discuss in general terms how the different aspects of your estate could be distributed.
Other things you might wish to consider are:
- Whether you want to leave money to a charity?
- Are there any children under the age of 18 that need to be considered?
- What happens if your family grows? Do you want to leave money to future grandchildren?
- Do your family know where your important papers are kept?
- Would you be comfortable documenting your bank accounts, insurance policies, investments, etc. and securely placing it with a person of your choice?
TALKING about your executors
You may also want to discuss who will be the executors of your Will. These will be specific people (usually two) named in your Will who will take legal responsibility for carrying out your instructions after you die.
TALKING about your Personal Belongings
Family members and those closest to you may have fond memories of certain items you own or things they bought you as a gift. Would you like them to have these?
Why not make a list of all the items that are likely to be of interest and ask your family members if there is anything they feel particularly attached to? For items that have a higher value, for example, jewellery, art, antiques or collectibles, you might want to be specific on how each item is handled.
Once you’re aware of which items are significant to your loved ones, you can specify how they are to be distributed in a “Memorandum of Chattels”, stored with your Will, expressing your clear wishes about who should receive them.
TALKING about your Funeral Plans
This is perhaps the hardest part of the conversation to have, but by talking openly with your family, they won’t have to second-guess your wishes in the future. You can be as detailed as you like, even referencing what music you would like to be played.
Questions you may wish to consider are:
- Would you like to be cremated or buried?
- Where would you like this to take place?
- How would you like your ashes to be handled?
- What would you like your funeral to be like? Do you have any preferences for readings that you would like included?
In discussing your funeral plans, it’s also the ideal time to talk about planning for medical incapacity. Who would look after your finances and make key decisions about your health and welfare if you were to lose mental capacity? You might want to talk about making a Lasting Power of Attorney in order to avoid stress and expense should capacity be lost in the future. We offer a fixed fee service for LPAs and details of our costs can be found here.
TALK to us about the next steps
Hopefully, after talking with your family, you’ll be feeling confident about your plans. Although the legal side of inheritance planning, Will drafting and signing of documents still has to take place, at least you’ll be clear on what you want to achieve. So all you now need to do is contact our inheritance planning solicitors in Barnstaple and we will take care of the rest.
We will support you at every stage of your inheritance planning by giving you clear information on what is (and what isn’t) possible. Our Will service starts from as little as £170 plus VAT for a standard single Will and £270 plus VAT for joint Wills.
If you are still unsure about the arrangements that need to be made then our inheritance planning solicitors in Barnstaple will be happy to talk things over with you