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REAL LIFE SCENARIOS

WHILE IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR WILL UP TO DATE, IT IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU CONSIDER SOME 'WHAT IF?' SCENARIOS.

Your digital life

As we all spend more and more time organising our lives online, it is likely that we will accumulate a digital ‘footprint’ across many online accounts. So would you know how to do the simple things like changing the credit card on the supermarket delivery website or closing an email account, for example?

This is information that your executors will need to resolve your financial affairs and your family will need to shut down old accounts. It can be very distressing if your family still receives communications for you or you were the subscriber to a service that your family might want to maintain, but gets closed down. 

There are things you can do:

  • Regularly spring clean your digital alerts. All those newsletters that were useful once and you now delete without opening them – just unsubscribe.
  • If you know that you have opened accounts and used them once or not used them for months, close them down.
  • You could consider one of the many password “vaults” and keep your details there. In that case you may only need to write down a single password and keep it safe. That may be something to be put in a sealed envelope and lodged with your solicitor.
  • Read through the details available online for accounts such as Facebook and LinkedIn to see what they require if your executors want to close down your account.

Second marriages

If you are on your second marriage and have step-children as well as children of your own you must make sure that you have an up to date Will.

Let’s take a sadly realistic situation. If you and your new partner are travelling and the unthinkable happens, the law comes into its own. The law assumes, even if you pass at the same time, the elder of the couple has died first.

If you haven’t left a Will as the older partner, your estate passes to the younger who or may not have made a Will. Potentially this could mean that your children would be left nothing while your step-children have everything. The answer is that you both need to make Wills, which are flexible enough to cope with these circumstances. 

Enduring Power of Attorney

This mechanism allows someone to act on your behalf and is particularly helpful in dealing with the affairs of those who become incapacitated. Depending on the Power of Attorney arrangement, healthcare and property issues can be transacted in your name, which helps when dealing with the bureaucratic requirements of banks and other institutions.

Paying bills together

We are all used to institutions calling home to be told that they will only talk to the account holder. We can understand why but it is another avoidable frustration when your family has weightier things on their mind than dealing with the gas bill.

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

No longer is this just a matter for people in castles, and despite the Chancellor’s latest uprating of the tax free element of houses, there may be other issues to consider. Parents in later life may want to work with their children and plan to make the most of their money.

None of these situations is usual. Talking about them now and taking action could be one of those resolutions that you hold to and really does work for everyone involved.

It’s time for “That Conversation”.

       

           
Young Family

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