When you have a family, you occasionally worry about what will happen to them when you die. If you don’t, you should do. But sometimes giving it a few minutes’ thought isn’t enough. If you want to make sure that your family will be okay after you’ve gone, you need to take action. There are lots of things you can do to prepare for your death and give you peace of mind in regards to your family and their finances. You can also plan for what will happen to your children. You can set out your wishes in terms of medical care, what will happen to your body, and funeral arrangements. Start thinking about some of these things today and you can be secure in the knowledge that you’ve done your best to prepare.
Building Savings and Investments
If you want to pass your assets on to your family, you first need to have some. Putting away some savings will help with several things after your death. It can pay for funeral or memorial service arrangements. Savings can also support your family financially in the long-term. When you have some savings, you can also make longer term investments. Whether you choose to buy property or start trading stocks, you can build up a more robust portfolio to support your family.
Taking Out Life Insurance
It’s also an excellent idea to take out a life insurance policy, especially if you’re currently the primary source of income in your household. If you die without making provisions, your family could struggle greatly with the loss of your salary to keep them going. When they’re already going through a stressful time, they don’t need money worries on top. You should find the right policy for you and your family to make sure everything is ready.
There are a few options to consider when you’re looking for a policy. You can take out simple level term insurance, which lasts for a set number of years, which is very affordable. Another option is a mortgage protection policy, which links to your mortgage to help your family pay it off. There’s also family income benefit insurance. This option is affordable, but the payout decreases over time. If you want a policy that pays the same amount no matter when you die, look for a whole-life policy. Consider whether you want a policy that pays out a single sum or annual payments.
Deciding Who Will Look After Your Children
Your kids are likely to be your top priority when you’re no longer around to take care of them. Whether you are partners with their other parent or you have full or part-time care of them, you want to know how they will be looked after when you’re gone. You may be especially worried if you’re a single parent or if you’re thinking about what would happen if both of their parents died. It’s not easy to think about what will happen to your children when you’re not there. No one likes to think about their kids being fostered or adopted by another family, but it’s necessary to consider. You need to think about what’s best for them.
This issue is obviously something that both parents need to discuss if they’re both in the children’s lives. It’s also something you should discuss with other family members, such as your parents or siblings. You might want to talk about it with current romantic partners too. Perhaps you have remarried, and you might need to consider your new partner adopting your children. You can appoint a guardian in your will and also set out what financial help they can get for looking after your kids.
Allocating Your Assets
As well as deciding what will happen to your children, you need to decide what’s going to happen to your money and possessions. Even if your children are all grown up, you’ll want to determine who gets what, and perhaps provide for them financially. The first thing to think about is who you want to support financially. You may need to consider your partner, your children, and any guardians you have appointed for your kids too. You may need to think about any inheritance tax to be paid. But this only takes effect if your estate is worth over £325,000 or £650,000 for a married couple. As well as giving money to family and friends, remember you can leave it to charity too.
Planning Your Funeral
Something else you might consider is arrangements for your funeral or memorial service. You might want to decide whether you will be buried or cremated, set aside some money for the service or even specify details like the venue or music. Something else you could consider is registering as an organ donor, and making your wishes clear to your family. Some people also think about donating their body to science.
Writing Your Will
When you’re ready to write your will, you can do it yourself, or you can use a will writing service. However, if you choose to write it yourself, you should still hire the services of wills and probate solicitors to check it over. Try using a template to write it yourself, or hire someone else to write it for you. Your will should set out who will receive your assets and who will take care of any children under 18. You need to sign it in the presence of two witnesses, who then need to sign it while you witness them.
As well as your last will, you might consider writing a living will too. This will specify what sort of treatment you want in the event you can’t decide for yourself. The legal terms for living wills are an advance statement and advance decision. An advance statement allows you to choose how you would like to be cared for, while an advance decision lets you specify the treatment you don’t want to receive. You can also appoint a power of attorney to make decisions for you.
There are lots of significant decisions to make about your death. Although they may be hard, thinking about them now will help protect your family when you die.