Your complete guide to Estate Planning

It’s understandable that you might have dismissed the importance of an estate plan until now. After all, nobody wants to think about their mortality or inability to make conscious decisions. However, estate planning can offer peace of mind and help your family members ensure your affairs are in order should you pass away or suffer from a life-changing illness.

Our complete guide to estate planning is designed to help you understand the process; some of the terms associated with it; the benefits of estate planning; and how you can get started with an estate plan today.

What is estate planning?

Your estate is essentially a legal term for everything you own, while an estate plan refers to a set of legal documents that help to govern your assets should you pass away, or if you’re unable to make your own decisions. This includes your finances and any property you might own.

Estate planning can reduce the amount of inheritance tax required, but we’ll discuss this in more detail shortly.

Is estate planning the same as a will?

It’s a common misconception that if you have a will in place then estate planning isn’t necessary. However, a will is just one element of an estate plan. An estate plan covers wider aspects of your life, from finances to your health care, across various legal documents. 

The documents included in an estate plan

Your solicitor will formulate an estate plan that includes the following documents:

  • A last will and testament (Will). Your will should cover bequests and legacies, along with guardians for your children (if required) and legal requirements. For example, you might outline who will receive your assets should you pass away, or appoint a legal guardian for your children.
  • A living trust. This document is somewhat similar to a will as it will outline who should receive your assets. However, the key difference is that a trust enables you to place your assets into the trust during your lifetime. This means the assets can be transferred without probate when you pass.
  • Advance Decisions (Living Will). This is different from your last will and testament and is designed to direct health decisions for you, should you be unable to do so.
  • A lasting power of attorney (LPA). An LPA grants a nominee to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

For more information about the documents included in your estate plan, contact a specialist today.

The benefits of estate planning explained

Estate planning is designed to benefit both you and your family over the long-term. Here’s how.

1. Peace of mind

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of estate planning is the peace of mind it offers you and your family. Without a proper estate plan in place, your family could face tough legal challenges to obtain your assets, should you pass away. Knowing that your assets are protected and accessible to your family can offer complete peace of mind.

2. Reduced inheritance tax

In many cases, the amount of inheritance tax required by you or your beneficiaries is reduced thanks to proper estate planning. If your total assets exceed £325,000, Inheritance Tax may be due at 40%. However, estate planning can help you identify areas of potential tax relief.

3. Plan for your future

Estate planning can also help you assess your current financial situation and better plan your finances for the future. With an estate plan, you’ll be able to calculate your current income and how this might distribute over the long term.

With these benefits in mind, it’s never too early in life to start estate planning for yourself or your loved ones.

How to make an estate plan

Estate planning can be a lengthy and sometimes stressful process, but our experienced estate planning solicitors are here to take the stress away and help to simplify the process.

Based in Crosby, Liverpool, our established team has been operating for over 30 years and is ideally placed to assist individuals across Merseyside, the North West and beyond. We understand the complexity and sensitivity of the subject, but rest assured your estate planning is in safe hands.

We’re here to help

To get started with your estate plan today, submit a contact form or call us directly on 03300 167 847. Our team is also available should you have any further questions about estate planning or any of our other solicitor services.

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