Does the thought of preparing your estate or talking about savings fill you with dread, stress or boredom? We reveal how to get your affairs in order without the fuss.
It’s always a good idea to have your money and important information in order. If you’re not as organised as you’d like to then follow these five simple steps to get everything ship-shape. Being prepared for the future gives you and your family peace of mind.
Make a will and choose an executor
If you haven’t got a will, now is a good time to write one. A will makes sure that your money, home and belongings go to the people you intend them to. You can write one yourself, but it’s best to have it written up or at least checked by a solicitor or a professional will writer, so you know there are no mistakes.
Choose someone you trust to be the executor of your will – they are responsible for carrying out your will after you die. Make sure your executor knows where your will is. If you’re not sure who to ask, a solicitor can do the job (for a fee).
Get your documents in order
Your executor also needs to know where you keep important documents, so it’s a good idea to organise all these documents in a clearly-labelled file to make their job easier. The documents to find and file are:
- divorce papers
- property deeds
- bank statements
- outstanding bills
- insurance policies
- credit card statements
- mortgage information
- birth and marriage certificates
- tax certificates such as your P60
Sort out your savings
If you have savings and investments in different places, make a list of where they all are, which will help your executor make sure nothing gets missed. Include any savings accounts, ISAs, Premium Bonds and shares.
Putting a little money aside for your funeral in a savings account can help your family out when the time comes. If you have life insurance, check if your funeral costs are covered by the proceeds. If you do save some money for your funeral, make sure it’s clearly marked for that purpose.
Clear your debts if you can
Do you have any unsecured debts? These include credit cards and loans that aren’t secured against your house. If you can afford it, you might want to pay them off. This simplifies things for your executor, which means that the money or gifts you leave in your will reach your loved ones quicker. If you have debts that you can’t afford to clear, make a list of them so your executor can deal with them more easily.
Get some help in place, just in case
Consider assigning Power of Attorney to someone with your best interests at heart so they can sort out your financial affairs if one day you’re unable to. It’s important you choose someone for this role while you still have a full mental capacity.
Ready to get your affairs in order but not sure where to start? Chat with one of our friendly experts and they can talk you through each step.