WHY IS ESTATE PLANNING IMPORTANT?

Estate Planning
  • Accommodate loved ones, financially, when you’re gone
  • Appoint guardians
  • Minimise conflict

 

It is not difficult to understand or appreciate why Estate Planning is so important to most of us. After all you are dealing with your total estate, which over your lifetime you have worked hard to accumulate. You are also dealing with the most important people in your life, the people you love and you want to protect. So there you have it, it’s about protecting your estate and protecting your loved ones, the most important things in life and to ensure that both are looked after and managed in the best way possible, when you are no longer here or unable to supervise or manage events yourself.

For parents of young children one of the top priorities to consider is their upbringing, should the unthinkable happen. Who would raise them? What sort of education would they have? Where would they live? Who would feed and clothe them? In other words, who would be best placed and willing to love and nurture them as closely as you would have yourself, and of course where would they be happiest, in other words, guardianship. Quite a number of major decisions to make in just that one part of planning your estate.

Then of course there is the distribution of your estate.

A Will would be a priority in estate planning, where you are able to name Guardians for your children, if appropriate, and to write down where and how you wish your estate to be distributed after your death. You also name the Executor/s chosen to manage the distribution of your Will.

Having done that, estate planning goes further and should make the process easier for the Executor/s and Attorneys, by stating the reasons for your wishes in detail and making clear where such documents such as, Bank Statements, Insurance Policies, Investments, Power of Attorneys, Any mortgage details etc., are stored and how they can easily be identified. An Estate Plan may also make clear how you would wish your affairs, such as property, finances and child care, where necessary, to be handled if you were to lose mental capacity during your lifetime.

Lasting Power of Attorneys are an important part of Estate Planning, with the potential to protect assets in life, for successors. Use these to nominate a person/s to look after your financial affairs should you lose mental capacity during your life time. They also give you the opportunity to nominate someone to make health decisions, for you, if and when you should not be able to do so yourself.

It maybe that you would like to leave a letter to your family and friends explaining your bequests in writing, in order to avoid misunderstanding and distress at a difficult time. You may wish to leave specific instructions regarding your funeral.

Finally, it is important that all these documents are stored safely and that the executor/s of your will are informed of their whereabouts.

If you’ve any questions about estate planning, call Confidence Wills now on 0121 231 7010.

Pre-Paid Funeral Plan Costs

Pre-Paid Funeral Plan

Funeral costs are the first thing to come out of your estate after you die, and can significantly reduce the amount you leave. Their organisation may also place undue pressure on those left behind.

  • PRICE: The average cost of a funeral today is £5,000-£6,000. But critically the average annual growth in the cost of a funeral has exploded in recent years to above 7%, ahead of house prices.
  • COMPLEXITY: organising a funeral has been compared to organising a wedding, in around 10 days, whilst experiencing extreme emotion.
  • AVOIDANCE: Most of us don’t wish to think about it in advance because it’s tangible and relates to mortality, so fail to plan.

The effects of these three factors are arguably interactive.

The bereaved have the responsibility and difficult task of arranging a major event in a short time frame (typically less than ten days). This involves making decisions such as: location; organising a Church Service (or not); cortege; choice of casket/coffin etc. On top of this are a plethora of options/ extra expenses, including (but not limited to): flowers; newspaper notices; wake (after-funeral gathering), the list goes on.

A funeral director may (correctly) advise the bereaved that the average cost of a funeral is currently between £5,000 and £6,000. The funeral director may have been established for tens if not hundreds of years, with offices/parlours filled with symbols of reverence and competence. With no ill intent, they might establish such figures as ‘normal’.

At a time of grief, the bereaved are often happy to be guided by the funeral directors, simply because they are in a state of emotional turmoil, having lost a loved one and feel under pressure of time to get matters finalised.

Under such conditions, it’s all too easy, when organising a funeral of a loved one, to conflate certain ‘extras’, such as a costly coffin or an expensive wreath, with the affection felt for one who has passed. Costs may quickly spiral.

Death is an inevitable part of the life cycle, a funeral is an extremely personal event and who better to decide how this proceeds, than the deceased themselves, while they are alive and able to do so. This is not so easy, however, as it is demands reflection on a time when one is no longer here. The best time to think about such matters is when undertaking other end of life tasks, such as writing a will.

A pre-paid funeral plan allow costs to be fixed in advance (nb. not all providers guarantee to cover future costs, the CO-OP is one large organisation which does). Key planning decisions can be made, based on what the plan holder thinks important for their funeral, and not informed by the grief of the bereaved. Enormous pressure can be relieved from those left behind.

By taking out a funeral plan the decisions & choices will have been made and the costs covered!

If you have any questions about pre-paid funeral plans contact Confidence Wills now on 0121 231 7010.