It is a subject no one is comfortable talking about and one that many people avoid: mortality. Steering clear of the topic has a knock-on effect though. Many people are unsure how to pass on their possessions following their death. This is called estate planning – here are a few things you probably didn’t know should be a part of this process.
Most people are unsure
Writing a will and passing your possessions on can sometimes seem straightforward without much thought, but a study by Co-op Legal Services found that many people were in the dark on estate plans. They found that most people mistakenly believed that a parent’s possessions will pass on to their children without a will. The study also revealed that almost a third of respondents didn’t realize that without a will – and without relatives – your estate will pass over to the Crown.
Things to include Pet trusts
Ensuring that your animal companion is cared for after your death is very important. In your estate you can leave your pet to a designated caretaker – this will most likely be a family member. Alternatively, you can set up a trust fund attached to the pet. In this situation you’ll appoint a trustee who’ll use the money in the fund to ensure that the pet is cared for.
Setting up a charitable fund from your estate is common for those who are altruistically motivated. This can be through a one-off gift donation upon your death. Or you can set up a fund following your death. This fund will have advisers that carefully choose where to make donations in case you’re worried that a charity you want to donate to when writing your will might change its mission after your death.
Our personal lives are becoming increasingly linked to the internet. After your death you may have digital belongings that need sorting. Put a plan in place for who you’d like to have access to your online banking, social media accounts and any other online places.
Real estate, stocks, bonds & mutual funds
If you have any investments or stocks, then you’ll need to ensure these have a destination too. In most estates you’ll allocate these funds to the beneficiaries that you want to receive money.
Physical cash isn’t used too often these days, but ensure you account for any you have lying around. Quickly accessible cash can be an enormous help for you family to arrange affairs after you pass.
Arranging an estate is something that plenty of people avoid. But by following the above advice you should gain peace of mind.