Monday 18 November 2019

Who Knows what Tomorrow Holds - Planning for the Future

Family in the woods
Photo by Irina Murza on Unsplash

{This is a Collaborative post}

Once you become a parent your whole perspective changes, or certainly mine did. Every new thing looks as if it holds danger and you worry constantly for your children. But worry isn't productive, so it is important to actually take some firm steps to ensure that your children are well looked after, safe, happy and financially secure if the worst should happen to you and your partner.

Here are a few ideas to get you started -

1.  Make sure you have a Will in place
2018 research from Which showed that 54% of adults in the UK do not have a will, this is an astounding figure. I daren't imagine what would happen if my husband and I both died and our estate had to be sorted out and there was no will. I want the kids and their guardians to easily have money available to them to start sorting out their plans and living arrangements for the future.

We chose to make mirror wills as our wishes were the same and it feels a cost-effective way of doing things. Other couples prefer to make separate wills and allow provision for the things they care most about. For us, it was the kids we cared most about and thus mirror wills worked perfectly. For the sake of drawing up a document that took us under an hour and cost less than £150, it would be crazy to die intestate and leave our children and their guardians with those kinds of problems.

Also, importantly, don't forget to tell your next of kin and executor where your will is kept!

2.  Arranging Guardianship for your children
Especially when your children are younger you want to make sure you have chosen the people you will entrust to look after them if you should both die. Of course, these people need to have been spoken to and agreed to act as guardians if the need should occur.

Up to the age of 18 children are still classed as minors and will need a legal guardian, ultimately with both parents dead a judge will make the final decision, but the person or people who name in this legal document will certainly be considered seriously as long as they are fit to take on your children.

As well as appointing the guardian/s who will actually look after the children day to day, you need to consider who will be trustee for any property or money left to the children. Often the guardian and the trustee can be the same person, but some people prefer to appoint them separately. It is often a good idea to have a second trustee like a solicitor or accountant, who isn't related to the children and can remain objective. Make sure to engage a reputable firm of family lawyers to help draft up a tight guardianship agreement for you, you don't want any arguments between opposing sides of the family if anything awful should happen, that is the last thing the kids will need.

3.  Leave plans for your funeral
You may have discussed your wishes for after your death with your nearest but if they are ill or you both die together, who will know? I certainly don't want my children to have to worry about my wishes once I have gone, so I will leave good instructions about whether I want to be buried or cremated and what kind of service I'd like. I want them to feel secure and confident in the knowledge that they are doing what I wished and also that they have the freedom to add their creativity to my final farewell.

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

4.  Keep your debts low
We all think we're invincible but truthfully you never know will your time will end, and as such it is important to live within your means. It is no good taking out huge loans and accumulating massive debts, as when you die the debt will become part of your estate and it will need to be settled before any money or property is passed on to your children. Can you imagine the stress that could be caused by numerous debts that keep cropping up after you have passed away?

5.  Put all the essential financial information in one safe place
You could use a safety deposit box or your solicitor may allow you to keep an essential financial information sheet with your will. This sheet will contain all your account details, log-ins, and passwords for financial information, such as banks, building societies, stocks, shares, bonds, pensions etc.

6.  Make sure you are on the donor list
It is super important to me that when I pass away, parts of my body can be used to help others. I've always expressed these wishes to my family but I never want to put them in the position of being faced with a doctor asking if they can take my organs. I imagine that is too much to have to think through when you are on the brink of losing someone. Instead, I've made sure my wishes are on the UK organ donor register and then there are no arguments needed!

7.  Consider making a Living Will or Advance Statement
This is a written instruction that any medical professionals have to take seriously and legally obey in the event that you become very ill. You can express your wishes for all sorts of circumstances in an advance statement and the great news is that you don't have to engage a solicitor to make one of these. As long as it is in writing, is signed, dated, and witnessed it is legally binding.

These are just a few ideas of the things you can do to ensure you are ready for when the worst happens, you can read more on the Money Saving Expert website if you want to delve further as they have a great resource to help you plan.

I hope this has been helpful and of course, I hope you'll never have to worry about most of these things as you'll lead a long and healthy life.

Why not pin this post for later?

Planning for death pin