Getting organised during the lockdown
Most of us are stuck at home and it is a good time to get organised. Here are some suggestions to get your legal and financial affairs in order.
These tasks don’t have to be tackled in one go. If you put these steps in place, you won’t have to think about them when this pandemic is over and you don’t have as much time on your hands: –
To help a family member, financial advisor, will draftsman or attorneys (if you have a Power of Attorney) get up to speed quickly:
- Draw up an asset schedule.
- Make a list of your online passwords for bank accounts, building society accounts, utility providers, household, building and motor insurers and your online shopping provider.
- If you don’t contact these organisations online – make a list of their names, addresses and phone numbers.
- Put your list in a safe, secure place and tell a family member/friend where these details are stored in your home.
For family members/ a close trustworthy friend (if family are too far away):
- Deliver a copy of your front door key to them.
- Explain how to disarm your house alarm.
- Make a key list of names, phone numbers and email addresses for your employer, GP surgery, dentist, solicitor, accountant, optician, garage, insurance providers, financial advisor, vet.
- Tell them where the above key list can be found.
- Tell them where important documents are stored e.g. your Will, power of attorney documents, insurance schedules, the deeds of your house or business premises, original share certificates.
- Let them know the combination for your home safe if you have one.
Think about your financial affairs and discuss them with your family:
- Do you have a Will? If so, is it still tax efficient? Does it reflect your current wishes?
- Who do you want to appoint as your “executors”? These are the people who pay debts, any tax liability, gather in, manage and distribute your estate after your death.
- Ask them if they are happy to act for you?
- If you have minor children, who should act as their guardian if you and their other parent have both died?
- Ask them if they are happy to step in and look after your children?
- Do you want to place any protection over your assets after your death, for example using one or more trusts?
- Is it prudent to gift assets now whilst their open market values have fallen?
- Do you have a Power of Attorney? If not – this is a good time to put one in place.
The number of people seeking to write new Wills has risen by at least 30% following the outbreak of coronavirus, according to The Law Society. Wills written in haste without the correct advice could lead to many disputes down the line.
If you would like advice about a Will or Power of Attorney, I can take instructions by email, telephone or using an online method such as SKYPE or Zoom. It is also possible to execute a Will whilst self-isolating.