Thinking about the end of your life is hard, but having a plan in place can reduce the burden on your loved ones and give you peace of mind knowing that everything will be handled the way you want.
We can support you in creating an estate plan that equips you and your family for whatever the future might bring. Speak to us today for advice on your personal situation.
Is an estate plan the same as a Will?
Although estate plans and Wills are often confused, the former is far more comprehensive. Your Will outlines who you would like to inherit your estate, who should look after your children and other aspects of property distribution. Your estate plan encompasses your Will, however its purpose is to protect you, your loved ones and your assets should you lose capacity or pass away. Unlike a Will, therefore, it also addresses issues such as your medical care and funeral arrangements.
What should my estate plan include?
What you should include in your estate plan will depend on your individual situation so it is best to seek legal advice. An estate plan will usually cover the following matters.
Writing your Will is a vital part of the estate planning process. It is used to make property designations, identify your executors and, if needed, appoint a legal guardian for your children. Don’t forget to distribute any digital assets you own, such as family photographs or your music collection.
Powers of attorney
A Power of Attorney (POA) gives another person the legal authority to act on your behalf if you lose mental capacity. You might appoint:
- a welfare POA to make decisions regarding your medical care;
- a continuing POA to make decisions concerning your finances and property;
- a combined POA to make medical and financial decisions for you.
End of life care preferences
Setting out your wishes for your end of life care can be reassuring for you and your loved ones. For instance, you could state where you want to be cared for or what should happen to your pets if you go into care.
An estate plan will provide an excellent time to consider any inheritance tax and other taxation issues which may arise out of your estate and give you the opportunity to take steps to minimise or reduce such tax liabilities in the future.
You can save your loved ones a great deal of heartache by making decisions about your funeral ahead of time. Whilst planning your own funeral may feel like a daunting task, your requests can be as specific or as general as you would like, and you can revise them at any time.
Your estate plan is an opportunity to settle any matters related to the end of your life that might concern you. For example, you could give instructions on what you want to happen to your social media accounts, or where donations made in your memory might be directed.
Wills and Estate Planning Lawyers, Bournemouth
If you are looking to get your affairs in order, Solomons Solicitors can help you to create a thorough and legally sound estate plan. Our attentive team can advise on every aspect, including drafting your Will.