It’s easy to put off doing the things in life that feel overwhelming. Thinking ahead to your family’s future without you, for example. But what if we told you that this can be a positive exercise?
Good planning during your lifetime means loved ones stand to benefit later from the financial and other arrangements you put in place. Doing this gives real peace of mind. You can relax, knowing you’ve provided for the right people and that the practical steps after you have passed away will be easier to work through. The emotional toll on your family won’t be added to by loose ends, missing information, confusion.
When a person passes away, their estate (in most cases) must go through the process of probate. Probate is the key to unlocking assets. It confirms who has authority to ‘administer the estate’ and deal with the person’s personal, financial and other affairs. Until probate is issued, the estate assets cannot be sold or distributed. (Where a person dies without a Will, the process is similar but the intestacy rules apply.)
The idea of going through the finer details of everything a loved one owned, owed, and intended for others can be daunting. As probate specialists, we help families deal with the legal process and practicalities. And we help people prepare so that, when the time comes for their estate to be dealt with, probate is an easier experience for those they care about.
How can you make probate simpler?
Make a Will
A Will sets out your wishes and allows you to control how your estate will be dealt with. It names the ‘executors’ – the people who will administer your estate. It can also set out funeral wishes, beneficiaries, and identify guardians for minor children. These types of details give much-needed certainty and guidance to those left behind.
A Will is not a once-in-a-lifetime document. You should review your Will any time your personal or financial circumstances change. And it’s a good idea to let your executor and/or family know where the Will is stored, as the original document will be needed during the probate process. Without it, the process of applying for probate becomes more complex.
Plan for inheritance tax
Inheritance tax (IHT) must be calculated and paid before the executors can apply for probate. With good planning, you’ll be able to minimise the amount payable so that there’s more value to be distributed from the estate. If you think your estate will be liable to IHT, a financial advisor and a solicitor could help you mitigate the liability.
Get your paperwork in order
Imagine being the person responsible for having to trace another person’s assets. Unfamiliar paperwork and online accounts can make this complicated and time-consuming. So help them out by keeping a record of your assets, together with any usernames and passwords that might be needed by your family. Store these in a safe place.
With the right help, future planning can be straightforward. And it’s always worth the effort. As trusted experts with years of experience in helping people and families before, during and after probate, we see the difference forward-thinking makes. That’s why we work very closely with people to understand their circumstances, share their burden, and support them with the very best legal and practical guidance.