How to make things easier for your loved ones when you die

How to make things easier for your loved ones when you die

Death can cause grief and also financial tragedies, but it is possible to lessen the impact when it happens. Crucial financial preparations such as writing a will, setting up a power of attorney, and looking at the options for funeral plans are just some ways to make things easier for your loved ones when you die.

Have an ‘unpleasant issues’ chat

It’s not always best to avoid talking with your family about your death. It’s likely you’ve got many years ahead of you, but there’s a chance you might not.

When a loved one dies, those left behind not only have their grief to deal with. There are often financial complications that can increase the pain. You or your loved ones might prefer to avoid the subject, but it’s not something you should put off.

Consider arranging a day when you discuss with your partner or dependants what you want and how you want things to be organised. Some of the things you need to discuss include the following:

  • Equity release: This is a way of spending your home’s value while still living in it.
  • Wills: Die without making a will, and you could leave behind significant financial problems for your loved ones.
  • Your financial factsheet: This lists all your bank accounts, pension, utility provider, and more.
  • Inheritance tax planning: You need to do this early if your estate’s likely to have inheritance tax issues.
  • What happens if your faculties fade: Consider arranging a Power of Attorney while you’re still aware and able to make the decisions yourself.

Sort your will

If your will is up to date, you won’t be leaving behind a financial nightmare for those you love. It’s the most important preparation you can make, even if you’re perfectly healthy. There are several valid reasons for this:

  • It’s important if you’re married or have assets because it clarifies who will look after your estate and where any significant assets go.
  • It can help avoid painful family conflicts.
  • It can ensure your partner’s provided for.
  • Wills can be cheap or free to make.

Arrange who will look after your dependants

If there are people who depend on you or you have children under 18, make sure you talk with your family about who will look after them when you’re gone. It’s tough to talk about, but don’t put it off. If you make plans and provisions now, it will ensure they’re safe and cared for should the worst happen.

Plan early to save on inheritance tax

The government will assess the worth of your estate when you die. If you don’t do any planning for this, as much as 40% of its worth could go in tax. There are many ways to deal with this, such as giving gifts at least seven years before you die, leaving cash to charity, and more.

Plan Your Funeral

Making funeral decisions when a loved one dies can be a harrowing experience at an already painful time. You can save them from this by making a few quick decisions on your own funeral.

It’s a good idea to make your wishes known while you’re well rather than waiting and then discussing things in haste at death’s door. Consider discussing the following:

  • How much can you afford to spend
  • Whether you prefer to be buried or cremated
  • Whether you want a green funeral
  • Music
  • Flowers
  • Readings
  • Religious rites

Plan ahead in case you lose your faculties

Thinking and talking about what may happen if your faculties desert you can be uncomfortable. However, it’s important to consider how much worse it would be if you become incapacitated without sorting it first.

Consider arranging a Lasting Power of Attorney. This is a legal document in which you nominate a relative or trusted friend to look after your affairs if you lose your mental capacity.

Make a living will

This is a term often used for an advance decision. It is a legal statement that lets you say if you don’t want certain types of medical treatment in specific situations should you lose capacity in the future.

For example, you may not want to be resuscitated if you become too ill to make the decision later on. You may also refuse to receive a blood transfusion if it’s against your religion.

It’s free to make an advance decision, and you don’t need a solicitor to do it. However, you do have to be over 18 and have mental capacity when you make it.

Make an advance statement

Advance decisions are legally binding, but they are only about treatments you want to refuse. If you want to make others know how you want to be treated towards your end of life, you can make an advance statement.

In this document, you can state anything you think others should know to best care for you in the future if you lose the capacity to make your wishes known.

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EWN

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