Estate Planning Solutions

Efficient estate planning allows you to cover each and every base in the event that the worst happens. It allows you to state where your funds should go, your final arrangement, and more.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of preparing your affairs — how they will be preserved, managed, and distributed after you die. Your ‘estate’ refers to your total assets. This can include your home, bank accounts, pension, insurance policies, as well as other assets you own.

Proper estate planning ensures that your assets and money are all protected when you die and will go to any beneficiaries you see fit.

The most common reason for estate planning is to provide security for a spouse or children after you are gone, preserve wealth for future generations, to donate to charitable organisations, and more.

Efficient and early estate planning is ideal for giving peace of mind to your loved ones, letting them know exactly how you want your estate and affairs to be managed upon your death. A death in the family is a stressful time, the additional complication of working out what to do with their estate can multiply this stress tenfold.

The Benefits of Estate Planning

Planning the specifics of passing your estate on to your loved ones may be a difficult task. However, it is also a vital one with a number of important benefits for both you and your beneficiaries — benefits like the ability to better understand the value of your assets, being able to minimise the inheritance tax impact, and more.

The benefits of efficient estate planning include:

  • Gain a more clear understanding of the current value of your estate. Allowing you to be more flexible with your life-choices should you wish.
  • The choice to support family now instead of after you are gone, allowing you to see the positive impact that your help will have.
  • Find out the sustainability of your assets and make sure you will have enough to give to your family, even if you live for several more years.
  • Help break the taboo and discuss plans for your loved ones after you are gone.
  • Minimise inheritance tax through proactive planning and preparation.

Estate planning is not reserved just for the richest. It is important that you plan ahead and begin the process of securing your assets early and ensure that your loved ones are cared for after you are gone.

Ready to Start Estate Planning?

If you have made the decision to be proactive with your money and start estate planning for after you are gone, there is no time like the present. Our estate planning services include: guidance with writing a will, establishing a trust fund, as well as the creation of a lasting power of attorney. Click below to find out more.

How to Plan Your Estate

Planning your estate is essential to ensure that your life-earned assets are not lost amongst bureaucracy, estate taxations, and distant relatives coming out of the woodwork. It is essential that you understand the process, so you can set out your exact requirements and make sure your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone.</p> <p>The process of planning your estate is as follows:

last-will-and-testament

Will or Trust?

The first step in the estate planning process is to establish exactly what form of plan you wish to enact. Sit down with a specialist to discuss the intricacies and unique aspects of your situation to determine exactly what options are best for you.

For some, a will and a trust can hold significant benefits, for others a trust may bear no major significant advantage.

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Carefully Consider Your Wishes

It may seem backwards to think this way, particularly if you are estate planning early in life, but it is important to carefully consider each and every one of your wishes in case the worst should happen.

What wishes do you have for your personal health care if you are unable to make such decisions for yourself? Would the appointment of a dedicated power of attorney to assist with health/financial issues put your mind at significant ease?

Consider your options carefully to ensure maximum coverage and security, as well as maximum peace of mind.

Choosing-an-Executor

Nominate

Arguably the most important step in the estate planning process. Think about who you wish to cover and protect in your plan. This is commonly reserved for close family: children, partners, siblings, etc. or even charitable organisations. These people are your beneficiaries and should be clearly listed in your plan.

It is possible to alter your estate plan to add or remove beneficiaries as you see fit.

Property-Protection-Trusts

Research Tax Issues

A factor of estate planning that many forget; inheritance tax can take a huge amount of the money you wish to leave behind before it ever gets to your loved ones.

An effective and early estate plan can ensure that you do all you can to limit the impact of inheritance tax on your assets and estate.

Funeral-Plans

Cover Funeral Expenses

It may be a wise decision to set up provisions to pay all funeral expenses upon your death. You are able to set up a pot of funds that, upon your death, is to be utilised specifically to pay funeral expenses. This is good to stop your loved ones from having to pay what can be expensive fees.

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Final Arrangements

Any wishes such as donating body parts/organs should be included in your estate plan — as should any requests you have for the disposal of your body, burial or cremation, location etc.

Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan

The purpose of an estate plan is to ensure that your loved ones are all taken care of after you have passed, minimising unnecessary stresses and complications as much as possible. Failing to create a comprehensive estate plan detailing your exact wishes invites these issues onto your beneficiaries.

If you don’t create an estate plan, you potentially leave your entire estate to the court system. This method of distributing your assets won’t guarantee that your wishes are followed. Your assets will be distributed however the court-approved representative decides, and the financial impact of the inheritance process may be significantly higher.

Cons of not creating an estate plan are as follows:

  • The courts are the ones making the key decisions over your assets
  • You are unable to name an executor to oversee your estate
  • Your preferred guardians if you have small children will not be automatically selected. The court would decide instead.
  • Your beneficiaries are out of your hands
  • Inheritance tax is a non-factor in the issuing of funds. All money will be distributed in one lump sum meaning that the full tax amount is likely to be in force.

What Does Estate Planning Include?

It is a common misconception that estate planning simply involves a will, but this is not the case. An effective and comprehensive estate plan will include much more documentation (lists of assets, insurance etc.), much more considerations (funeral arrangements, preferred guardians etc.), as well as merely just your will or trust.

Estate planning includes:

  • A will or trust
  • Lasting power of attorney
  • Funeral arrangements
  • Lists of assets
  • Lists of beneficiaries
  • Guardianship wishes should you have children
  • Insurance policies
  • Pension schemes

And more.

Making a Last Will & Testament

Just Wills and Legal Services have a number of different options available to help guide you in writing your last will and testament. You can even schedule a call directly with a member of our experienced team who can talk you through the process over the phone.

Establishing Trust Funds

Setting up a trust fund offers significant financial benefits for you and your loved ones. You can hold a manner of different assets in a trust that will go to any beneficiary you wish upon your death, or while still alive. Learn more today and put your mind at ease.

Lasting Power of Attorney

If you find yourself being unable to make important decisions on your own behalf, not having a lasting power of attorney can put your loved ones through serious stress. Ensure all important decisions can be made in regards to your welfare by appointing at least one key decision maker.

When Should You Start Estate Planning?

The common advice for when to start considering estate planning would be as soon as you begin to accumulate assets of your own. This can include when you turn 18 and are in full responsibility over your own finances, healthcare, etc. However, this train of thought is actually relatively uncommon in practice. Very few young people of this age are thinking about what might happen after they die.

Therefore, while we do recommend starting estate planning as soon as possible, there are a variety of important life events that should act to make the call of comprehensive estate planning louder. These include property ownership, marriage, inheritance, divorce, and most importantly having a child.

Additionally, once your estate plan is in place, you can’t just step back and treat it as a job done. These milestones, from having a child to marriage, should also be treated as important reminders to update your plan.

Each time there is a life event that either increases your personal wealth, or impacts how you want your assets to be distributed upon your death you should seek to immediately alter your estate planning to reflect the change.

Estate Planning and Inheritance Tax: How Does it Work?

The standard rate of inheritance tax in the UK is 40% charged to the part of your estate above the £325,000 threshold.

If your estate is worth over this figure, it may be possible to significantly reduce the impact inheritance tax can have on the amount your beneficiaries receive. This includes:

  • Give gifts while still alive
  • Consider a trust. A trust is less impacted by inheritance tax than a will. Particularly if you put your life insurance/pension into it.
  • Give everything to your partner. A spouse or civil partner in the UK is exempt from paying inheritance tax on anything you leave them.
  • Charitable donations are also exempt from tax
  • As of 2017, there is a tax allowance in place for homeowners wishing to leave their home to their children/grandchildren/spouse/civil partner

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not just setting out where and how your assets are to be passed on to your loved ones. It is also about getting a better idea of your financial situation, to help you to better enjoy life, safe in the knowledge that your loved ones are covered for.

Why Use Just Wills and Legal Services to Start Planning Your Estate

No matter when you do it, if you are planning your estate for whenever the day comes, you want to ensure you are dealing with somebody you know you can rely on. Here’s what makes us the best choice for you:

Comprehensive

Our estate planning service is catered specifically to your needs. Regardless of the amount of support you need; from the smallest of tasks to an all-encompassing estate planning service, we promise to provide the exact same level of care.

Experienced

Our experienced team boasts skilled drafters, efficient will writers, and knowledgeable qualified solicitors — all trained to the absolute highest industry standard to provide a world-class level of service.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

The service we offer is based entirely on ensuring your total satisfaction. Our team strives to make sure that each and every minute detail is suited to your needs.

Start Estate Planning Today

Contact us today to receive a specialist service designed to make the process of planning your estate as simple and stress-free as possible.

Related Articles

Learn more about estate planning and what it can do for you in a selection of our articles covering the subject in depth.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Estate Planning the Same as a Will?

It is a common misconception to believe that a will and estate planning are the same thing. Writing a will is in fact not the same as estate planning, but merely a part of the estate planning process. Estate planning covers significantly more than just your last will and testament, including considerations for your healthcare and burial to name a couple of examples.

How Can Estate Planning Be Seen as a Gift?

One of the most effective methods of bypassing significant inheritance tax sanction on your benefactors is to give gifts in advance. Everytime you give something away your estate reduces in value, potentially allowing you to reduce your estate beyond the insurance tax threshold.

For gifts to be eligible for tax exemption however, they must be seen as true gifts — meaning that there can be no conditions on giving them away.

What Documents Are Needed for Estate Planning?

There are a variety of documents needed for estate planning to ensure that all bases are covered, that you and your loved ones are as safe and secure as possible, no matter what. Essential estate planning documents include:

  • Last will and testament
  • Trust
  • List of beneficiaries
  • Lasting power of attorney documentation
  • Letter of intent
  • Digital asset trust
  • Life insurance policies

How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?

At Just Wills & Legal Services we always try to keep costs to a minimum. We will discuss the more intricate details of the cost behind estate planning, as well as your wishes and requirements once you contact us.

How Does Estate Planning Work for Same Sex Couples?

In the United Kingdom, the rights of a same-sex couple have total parity with that of opposite-sex couples. This means that estate planning rules that apply for an opposite-sex couple should apply equally to all same-sex partners.

For a same-sex partner to be eligible to their deceased partners assets or funds, they must be in an officially registered civil partnership or marriage, just like for any other couple.

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