Before you head off on holiday, it might be time to do some financial planning, review your will, and ensure everything is in place, Thomas Dickson suggests.
There’s something about setting off on holiday that makes some people a bit jittery about their future.
Have they got all of their affairs in order before jetting off on their travels?
Is their will up-to-date?
A client of mine recently told me that her anxiety levels rise in the days leading up to a trip. She informs her family about which solicitor has her latest will, and where her keys and codes are hidden. She prepares in case something happens to her when she’s abroad.
This might seem over the top, but I’d advocate that it’s a very sensible approach to relieving any anxiety.
You don’t want to worry about this stuff when you’re supposed to be relaxing and having fun!
Who needs a will?
We’ve been working with dentists for over 20 years and have hundreds of clients.
Unfortunately, every year a small percentage get ill, or pass away. Some are in their 40s and 50s and some in their 60s, 70s and 80s. The thing is – although we don’t like to think about it, we just don’t know how long we’ve got.
Research carried out by Canada Life a year-and-a-half ago shows that three out of five adults in the UK don’t have a will. This means that around 31 million people have assets that could be left to someone they haven’t chosen when they die.
The research also shows that a whopping 65% of 45 to 54-year-olds haven’t written a will.
This is presumably because most people don’t expect to die prematurely, but unfortunately, this happens all too often.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made me appreciate more than ever that life can be both precious and precarious, which is why financial planning is so important.
Creating an up-to-date will
As a financial planner, my whole ‘raison d’etre’ is to encourage people to do things they really want to do, and not to wait for that ‘one day’ in the future when they’re ready to retire.
But before we embark on the fun planning and dreaming, we always find out if a client has an up-to-date will that they’re happy with.
The summer holiday season seems like an ideal opportunity to encourage you to get out your will. If you have one, check you’re happy with the executors, trustees and guardians; and make sure there’s no change to the beneficiaries or the ages you’d like any children to inherit.
If you haven’t got a will, I suggest you find a local probate solicitor and book an appointment.
It’s not expensive to do and normally not that complicated.
There are options to do it yourself or online, but writing a will is one thing you need to get right.
So, I’d always recommend engaging a probate solicitor to avoid making any mistakes.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Another important step is to arrange Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
Many dentists we speak to think that this is just for their parents or those in their late 70s or 80s.
But any principal dentists or those with assets that aren’t in joint names with their partner, should consider these.
An LPA is a legal document that lets you appoint one or more people – known as attorneys – to make decisions on your behalf if you ‘lack mental capacity’, either because of an accident or an illness.
So, if anything happens to your partner and they’re not able to manage their finances, you can act on their behalf.
Kate Garraway, a former journalist at ITV and co-presenter of GMTV, has spoken openly about her husband, Derek Draper, who contracted Covid-19 in March 2020.
As they didn’t have an LPA set up, she struggled to take over the household finances, access his bank accounts or even change his mobile phone contract.
At least once a year my wife has to put up with me going through what happens if one or both of us were to die.
The importance of financial planning
Clearly, I want to make sure my family are okay financially if anything happened to me, but as a chartered financial planner it would also be too embarrassing if my affairs weren’t in order.
So earlier this year, we re-wrote our wills (again), re-drafted our letter of wishes, reviewed and updated our life insurance plans and had all the trust forms re-signed.
I’ve just seen too many cases where people have died prematurely, without a will, and without enough insurance. Sometimes there’s enough to pay off the mortgage, but not enough to provide a decent level of financial security for loved ones left behind.
So, before you go on holiday, dig out your wills, read them carefully, and make sure you’re happy with the financial plans if you were to die prematurely.
Then review your life insurance plans and make sure you’ve got LPAs in place.
Then you can forget about it, pack your bags and fly off to have some fun.
If you’d like to take the step towards planning and protecting your financial future, please visit wealthwide.co.uk or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org