There’s sometimes an assumption that estate planning is for those with substantial wealth and assets, or that it’s exclusively for old people.
All estate planning really means is taking control and ensuring that your decisions govern what happens if you die or become incapacitated. This can affect your property, possessions and savings as well as issues such as who will look after your children.
In fact, there’s a good argument that the time to start estate planning is as soon as you become an adult or have any savings or assets. Other triggers include buying your first home, getting married or remarried and becoming a parent.
If you receive an inheritance or other substantial assets it’s also a good idea to make plans for what should happen to them should you die. If you don’t make the decision and record your wishes formally in a Will then the law will decide for you – which may not reflect what you want.
Effective planning simplifies the process of dealing with your estate. This makes the probate process much quicker and less stressful for your relatives and beneficiaries.
Nominating a Guardian
When you become a parent you should consider who you would want to look after your children if you and your spouse or partner were no longer around. You can include these details in your Will, which is why parenthood is often a trigger for people to take estate planning seriously.
Trusts and Inheritance Tax Planning
If you have substantial assets you should take steps to minimise your inheritance tax liability. Trusts are one of the ways that you can do this. A deed of trust is also a way to protect your share of jointly owned assets (such as your home) so that it passes to your children if you die and your spouse remarries.
The simple message here is that you don’t have to be rich or old to think about your assets and what will happen to them should the worst happen, Whatever assets you may have it is important to start planning as soon as possible.