Contrary to popular belief, taking those essential yet simple steps to putting your affairs in order before you die can prove an empowering – as opposed to a distressing, experience.
Professional advice for peace of mind
At the Funeral Services Guide, we appreciate that preparing for your own demise and planning ahead, financially and legally, can be an emotionally draining and often complex affair.
We, therefore, recommend that you seek specialist professional advice on all aspects of organising your financial, legal and personal affairs including, making a will, choosing pre-paid funeral plans, minimising exposure to inheritance tax, writing advance care directives or making a living will, seeking power of attorney (where appropriate), etc.
The bottom line is that consulting the experts can really save you time and money in the long-run; it can also protect your chosen beneficiaries from avoidable heartache.
Step-by-Step guide to putting your affairs in order
So where do you start? The following easy-to-use guide and simple steps to putting your affairs in order will help you set your plans in motion:
- Seek professional advice on making a will, as a matter of priority. Choose your executors, wisely; think ahead about bequeathing your personal possessions, making donations to charity, etc.
- Gather together all your relevant personal, legal documents and financial data in one place, preferably in clearly marked files (particularly useful for presenting to your professional advisor's or for easy access by next of kin).
- Ensure that all your paperwork is up-to-date, especially where pension, property and investment documentation is concerned.
- Look into drawing up a legally binding living will (a.k.a. an advance healthcare directive or natural death declaration). A living will specifies what medical intervention you require (if any), should you become incapacitated and unable to make the necessary decisions for yourself. You could also, at this stage, anticipate issues relating to failing health and the benefits of assigning power of attorney.
- Openly discuss and clearly document your personal wishes and funeral plans with loved ones and next of kin. Stipulate, for example, your specific requirements for the funeral ceremony or celebration, the method of disposition of your remains, your choice of funeral music and poetry readings, etc
- Consider choosing a funeral director/undertaker, in advance. Such foresight and forward funeral planning would certainly enable you to select a funeral service provider with whom you can truly empathise Investigate the possibility of taking out a prepaid funeral plan to cover the costs of your funeral, thus reducing the financial burden on your loved ones, when you die.
Top Tip for Planning Ahead
Always organise your paperwork (and your thoughts and wishes) carefully before seeking professional advice. Remember, a professionals time costs money and that the clock may start ticking as soon as you pick up the phone!