Life is full of uncertainties and as we get older these can become more pronounced especially when we could become potentially vulnerable through illness or an unpredicted change of circumstance. There are of course always actions that we can do and put in place that can help to protect us from those uncertainties that life can throw at us in particular as we get older. Most people are not sure where to turn to or who to ask for help in regards to this, but there is ample professional guidance available that can steer you towards giving yourself peace of mind on issues ranging from preserving your family wealth for future generations of your family to dealing with issues around your own longterm care or even a vulnerable family member.
1. Make Your Long Term Needs Secure
Many elderly people in the United Kingdom are experiencing reduced levels of income as a result of record levels of on-going low interest rates. People that maybe reaching retirement age could also find themselves in a situation where they need to capitalise on their assets in order to create an income. Selling such assets can be fraught with difficulties especially when you consider the poor economic situation. However, careful estate planning can help to mitigate some of the problems faced by people. No matter what your financial position or your net worth, estate planning remains a key to ensuring that your future needs are properly provided for and is vital in terms of preserving family wealth.
2. Review Your Situation Regularly
It is a fact of life that situations constantly change. People must be prepared to be flexible and make alterations in light of any changes. Creating an inventory of assets will help you put things into perspective. It is important to reflect on your current and future needs.
Also consider the following questions:
- How should your assets be owned in order to achieve the maximum benefit?
- What is the best way you can protect your assets from potential future claims?
- Who amongst your family and friends would you want to inherit your assets?
- Who would you want to handle your financial affairs if you ever became physically or mentally incapable of doing so yourself?
3. Have You Made A Will?
It is essential consider every aspect of your life and think seriously about every eventuality in life. A Will is a hugely important document and an essential part of estate planning. Without making a Will, it is difficult to control what will happen to your assets when you die. When a person dies without leaving a Will, it is normal for their spouse or civil partner to receive a fixed sum of money generally known as the statutory legacy. The amount the surviving spouse would receive can change over time and though any increase could be quite large, there is still a risk that your spouse may lose their home or you may unintentionally leave them with an overwhelming tax burden.
4. Aim To Lower Your Tax Bill
A lot of people unnecessarily pay too much tax. Therefore it is really important to consider ways to decrease personal tax bills. This can be achieved by maximising the use of available allowances, reliefs and exemptions and if necessary reorganise the way assets are owned.
5. Always Obtain Professional Advice
Seeking out and consulting with professional advisers is a vital way of making sure that you meet your current and future needs. Nobody’s circumstances are the same and so advice needs to be tailored accordingly. Remember, what is good advice for your friend or neighbour might not be good advice for you. Therefore, do not underestimate the value of taking proper professional advice, no matter what your circumstances.