When people think of a bucket list, they tend to think of exotic locations, once-in-a-lifetime events and feats of personal achievement. Less thought about is the not so glamorous but highly important list of tasks that secure your family’s financial future. These tasks are easy to set up and can all be started today.
1. Write a Will
A will sets out which of your family members benefit from your estate. You can choose for everything to go to just one person or share it among those closest to you.
As long as you are over 18 you can make a will any time you want. You don’t even need to involve a solicitor. All you need to do is make it in writing, sign it in the presence of two witnesses and have your witnesses sign it in your presence.
When writing your will, you should include:
- Who you want to inherit parts of your estate
- Who should look after any children under the age of 18
- Who will act as your executor
- What happens if the people in your will pass away before you do
On certain occasions, your solicitor should be involved. This includes if you:
- Own property with another person who isn’t your husband, wife or civil partner
- Want to leave money to someone who cannot care for themselves
- Think that members of your family may fight over your estate
- Have property outside of the UK
- Own a business
Unlike your instructions for your estate, any aspects of your funeral that you outline do not have to be followed. To ensure that your funeral is the fitting occasions you want, you should open a funeral plan and set out these details.
2. Open a Funeral Plan
Funeral plans are designed so that you can arrange and pay for the funeral you want before you pass away. There are a number of benefits associated with opening a funeral plan, with one of the most popular being that they unburden your family from having to make these arrangements.
In your funeral plan you can outline the services you wish to receive. These can include:
- Choice of funeral vehicles
- Coffin or casket options
- Obituary type
- Memorial options
- Floral tributes
The cost of your funeral is dependent on the services you want, but usually they tend to be between £3,000-£4,000. This can be paid in a one-time lump sum or in instalments, depending on your preference. Instalments are expected to be paid over an agreed upon payment period. The size of the instalments is based on the cost of the funeral and the payment period.
You can even open a funeral plan for a family member or a funeral plan for you and your partner. To look at the funeral plan options available to you, why not visit our funeral plans page?
3. Take Out Life Insurance
Life insurance policies are designed to provide your family with financial support after you pass away. The money your family receives when the policy pays out can be used for anything your family needs.
Life insurance cover takes into account your earnings, your assets, your family and how you want to support your loved ones after you pass away. This often means that the eventual pay-out is a six-figure sum, which is paid directly to your family.
Any adult can take out life insurance, although many providers will only insure someone below a certain age. Your application may also be rejected if the insurer feels your life expectancy is shorter than your payment period, so it pays to take out life insurance early.
It is important when you are applying for life insurance that you provide the most up-to-date medical information. Anything that you forget to tell the insurer may invalidate your cover if they feel it contributed to you passing away.
4. Make a Lasting Power of Attorney
Making a lasting power of attorney (LPA) is often overlooked by those trying to protect their finances. An LPA gives your permission for someone to oversee your financial affairs and your well-being if you lose the capacity to make decisions.
The buying or selling of property, paying of bills, managing your investments and maintenance of your property are all areas which your attorney will have control over. Therefore, it is important you nominate someone who will manage your finances responsibly and to your wishes.
The attorney you nominate must be over 18, have never been bankrupt, have the mental ability to act in this role and be willing to take on this responsibility. You can make an LPA by registering your wishes with the Office of the Public Guardian. To do this, you will need to provide:
- Your name, address and date of birth
- A nominated attorney’s name, address and date of birth
- A certificate provider’s name and address
A certificate provider is an impartial person, usually your doctor or solicitor, who ensures that you understand the role of an LPA and that you are making these decisions voluntarily.
The most important thing you do today
Everyone has their own personal bucket list of ambitions. One thing you probably take for granted however, is being there for your family in the future. Although many of us don’t like to think about planning for our death, by starting these tasks today, you can ensure that you will support them whatever the future may hold. It could be one of the most important things you do for your family.