Preparing for a New Year by Putting Your Affairs in Order

For many of us, Christmas and New Year is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Gift exchanges, festive meals and family traditions are all part of what makes this time of year special.

Unfortunately, this year, like last year, there is a lot of uncertainty around what may or may not be possible. Whether it’s changing restrictions, growing risks or positive test results, it’s difficult to know what to expect from the coming weeks.

The end of the year can often be a period of introspection. With all this uncertainty around, it’s natural to find yourself thinking about what the future might hold and whether you’re sufficiently prepared for it.

We often hear the phrase ‘putting your affairs in order’, but many people aren’t sure what it entails. This common term is generally used to describe the process of organising your financial and legal arrangements, particularly with the possibility of unexpected events in mind, such as serious illness or death.

Though it might not feel very festive to be considering these sorts of things, making legal preparations well in advance can make things a great deal easier for yourself and those close to you should the need ever arise.

What to do when someone dies book

Do you know what to do when someone dies?

Download our handy guide which explains all the legal responsibilities you will encounter when someone close to you dies.

Making a Will

A Will is what most people think of when it comes to ensuring they are legally prepared for the future. These vital documents ensure that your wishes about your estate would be known – and legally enforceable – in the event of your death.

Making a Will, and keeping it regularly updated, is important for everyone. It’s particularly vital for individuals with young children, blended families or more complicated financial assets.

Read more about the process of making a Will:

Protecting Digital Assets

We live in a very different type of world than the generations who came before us. Because of this, it’s becoming more and more important to carefully consider the digital assets you have to your name and to ensure you have adequately planned for how you would like them to be dealt with in the event of your death.

Read more about digital assets, what they can be worth, and how best to plan for how they should be managed:

Digital assets: what are they and what happens to them on death?

How valuable are your digital assets?

Your creative legacy: who will get your intellectual property when you die?

Should you include digital assets in your Will?

Do your family have the right to access your online accounts after your death?

Inheritance Tax Planning

Inheritance tax is a complicated subject. Taking the time to review your potential tax liabilities well ahead of time can help to save your loved ones from nasty surprises later on. An experienced solicitor will also be able to ensure you are aware of any tax allowances you may be eligible for.

You can read more about inheritance tax planning here:

A brief guide to inheritance tax

Reducing your inheritance tax

Do your inheritance tax plans consider lifetime transfers?

Inheritance tax: the reliefs, the tax and the livery

Act now, save tax later: your estate and the residential nil rate band

Lasting Power Of Attorney

Many people take the time to make plans for their estate after their death without considering the possibility that they may need additional support before then. A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a valuable legal document that gives you the opportunity to appoint someone you trust to make crucial decisions on your behalf should you no longer be able to.

Read more about LPAs and why you should seriously consider making one:

Why do you need a power of attorney?

The importance of choosing attorneys who will cooperate

Appointing a professional attorney in your LPA

Should I replace my Enduring Power of Attorney?

LPA: special considerations for business owners

Care Home Planning

Not all of us will be able to continue living independently as we get older. Navigating the care home system can be complicated and expensive, especially without prior planning. A specialist solicitor will be able to advise you on any steps you might want to take now in case care home fees become a necessity later on.

Read more about what you need to know about care home fees:

Understanding care home top-up fees

Living in a care home: what happens if the money runs out?

Caring for an elderly relative ebook

Advance Statements and Advance Decisions

If you have clear ideas about any medical treatment you would or would not like to receive in the future, you may wish to consider making an advance statement or advance decision. These documents allow you to make your wishes known about life-sustaining treatments such as blood transfusions, feeding tubes and DNR orders and will be in place should you become so unwell you were unable to communicate these wishes to medical staff.

Read more about advance statements and advance decisions, and how they differ to each other:

Advance decisions and advance statements

Advance decisions and life sustaining treatment

How Roche Legal can help

We are reassuring experts who can help you with a wide range of legal matters. Please get in touch if you need legal support with:

Need further help?

If you would like to discuss these issues further, please contact us.

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