Does your family know your financial plans?

Does your family know your financial plans?

It’s common for people to pass away without their family knowing their financial plans. This can lead to various problems, especially when you are attempting to sort out a partner’s financial affairs. We have first-hand experience dealing with these types of issues. Therefore, we’ve produced a helpful checklist to help you organise critical aspects of your financial planning.

  • Locate important documents
    Firstly, it’s essential to know where financial documents are stored, such as pensions, savings and investment statements. When you die, the executor of your Will needs access to financial records so they can administer your estate. Other essential documents include a copy of your Will, any trusts, passport, driving licence, insurance policies, household bills, and anything property or business related.
  • Allow access to documents
    Your documents need to be kept in a secure place, ideally in a locked cabinet. Give a spare key to a partner or a trusted family member. Also, make sure your partner or family can find passwords needed to access your online accounts. This also applies to your digital assets such as cloud-based photo and music libraries.
  • Make a Will
    If you haven’t already made a Will, then this is a crucial part of financial planning from an estate perspective. A Will ensures your money, property and possessions go to the people you choose after you die. You should review your Will each year, especially after any significant life changes. Also check that you still want the same executors named on your Will, as this can cause problems later down the line.
  • Wills are essential for cohabiting couples
    Writing a Will is crucial if you aren’t married or in a civil partnership, but cohabiting. This is the only guarantee that your partner will inherit from your estate. They won’t have the same automatic rights as a spouse or civil partner when you die. If you need to make or update a Will, we use trusted solicitors – please speak to us.
  • Write a letter of wishes
    Alongside your Will, you can also write a letter of wishes. Although this is not legally binding, it enables you to express your views on things like funeral arrangements. For example, you may wish to leave a piece of sentimental jewellery to a family member. You are welcome to refer to our financial planners in your letter of wishes to act as your trusted advisers in relation to key decisions.
  • Talk about your plans
    It may sound simple, but talking about estate planning can be one of the most challenging conversations. People do not like discussing what will happen after their death. This is why many families are unaware of a loved one’s financial plans or wishes. It’s not something that has to happen regularly but try to sit down together as a family to talk through everything. Discussing your legacy intentions can be very useful.
  • Involve your partner
    Family wealth should not be kept secret unless you have been advised otherwise. Usually, it makes sense from a practical perspective to involve your partner in every aspect of your financial planning. As well as preparing for the future, this also helps with decisions relating to big life events, such as moving house or when to retire.
  • Encourage intergenerational planning
    Once you have a financial plan in place, try to involve your family. Our financial planners enjoy building relationships with our clients’ children and grandchildren. Ultimately, it’s their inherited wealth that we will inevitably help them to manage. So, it’s important to involve different generations across your family in big decisions.

Financial Advisor, Nottingham and Lincoln

At Balance: Wealth Planning, one of our clients had a partner who passed away and was left to sort out their finances. However, they did not know the location of any documents or passwords. When their partner was alive, they also did not attend any meetings with them. As a result, they were completely unaware of their partner’s financial situation.

As your trusted advisor, you can refer to us in your letter of wishes, requesting that your family consult with us on your financial matters. It’s our aim to protect your legacy and to ensure it is passed to those you wish to inherit from you when you die.

If you would like to discuss your legacy and financial plans with a trusted financial planning team, get in touch.