Whilst we all go about our day-to-day business, there is an elephant in every single room we enter. We cannot always see it, but it can always see us and there are times when our lives brush past it and we emerge unscathed.

If you haven’t realised by now, the elephant in the room is in fact death – a topic no one likes to address. Whether we like to talk about it or not, the fact is this – it will catch up with us all at some point in our lives. The main question you need to ask yourself is ‘How can I make things easier for my loved ones when I’m gone?’

It is without question, critical to have an up-to-date Will in place throughout your life and any financial adviser will ask you whether you have one in place at initial discussions.

In the UK, Wills by nature are not something people think a lot about and are often associated with the elderly. This article isn’t solely about Wills in case you were wondering, although if you don’t have a Will, you really should get one.

If you pass away without having a Will, your estate passes by the rules of Intestacy. In this instance, your assets within your estate may very well pass to individuals that you do not wish to inherit. Therefore, it is vital to have an up-to-date current Will.

Recent research on Wills in the UK carried out by Royal London, YouGov, IRN Research and Orchard has revealed some interesting statistics.

Here are some of the most striking statistics:

  • 5.4 million adults do not know where to begin when it comes to writing a will.
  • Around 54% of adults do not have a will.
  • Six in 10 (59%) of parents do not have a will or have one that is out of date.

When you pass away, it can be rather daunting for your loved ones to deal with the task of locating all your assets and taking stock of what makes up your estate. There can be many assets within a person’s estate such as your properties, bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages and loans, pensions, ISAs, and other investments.

All too often, people are very private about their personal finances with their family members. This means that when someone does pass away, it can take a considerable length of time to ascertain all the assets in someone’s estate.

The good news is, this process can be expedited, and you could provide yourself with peace of mind by having the information your loved ones need during a difficult period of loss, all in one document that sits alongside your Will.

Fiducia, along with GoodyBurrett Solicitors have collaborated and created a ‘What I Own & Where I Keep It’ document. Designed to run alongside your Will and personal documents.

In our document you can list all the assets in your estate and update these periodically as things change throughout your life. Within the document, you can include important information such as contact details of your Executors and beneficiaries. Any additional information regarding your funeral arrangements and wishes and any other details that would assist your family during the difficult period of loss.

What I own and where I keep it document

Likewise, if you have made any gifts to loved ones during your lifetime, you can keep a record of this in your very own ‘What I Own & Where I Keep It document’. This will help establish a record of any lifetime gifting and thus potentially reducing any Inheritance Tax liabilities (some gifts are potentially IHT exempt) and the passing over of more wealth to your loved ones.

With property prices rising substantially in recent years, it doesn’t take much to realise your estate’s value is higher than you may have initially thought. Add to this any other assets you might have, such as a Pension or other saving plans, you can imagine the complexity of finding all this information in a timely fashion could be quite difficult for a loved one grieving.

If you have been unfortunate to have to deal with a loved one’s estate already, you may understand some of the difficulties involved and the potential complexities that can occur. It can be a daunting prospect hence why it is important to consider instructing an experienced Probate Solicitor who can assist and advise you during this process.

As we have mentioned previously in this article, the document does not replace your need for a Will, but it does simplify things for your loved ones during a very stressful time.

Not only is the ‘What I Own & Where I Keep It’ document essential for your loved ones dealing with your estate after you have passed away, it would also be a vital tool to assist those caring for you if you were to lose capacity. If you have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, appointing individuals to manage your Property and Financial Affairs on your behalf if you were to lose capacity, your ‘What I Own & Where I Keep It’ document would provide them with all the information they would need to continue managing your affairs, in the way that you have always done so. Without a Power of Attorney in place, if you were to lose capacity, your finances would be inaccessible.

If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, this is something you should certainly consider and discuss with your financial adviser.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and through our ‘What I Own & Where I Keep It’ document, you have the power to provide the knowledge to your loved ones. There is no better time to start having your assets documented for your loved ones to pick up and understand easily when the time arrives. It is advised that this document is stored safely alongside your Will and personal documents.

Make things easier for your loved ones in the future by downloading our ‘What I Own & Where I Keep It’ document and start collating your estates information today. If you would like help completing the document for the first time, speak to a member of our team who will be only too happy to help.

GoodyBurrett are a well-established law firm committed to providing outstanding modern legal services to clients. Their offices are based in the town centre of Colchester, Essex. They have teams of expert solicitors providing a full range of legal advice and services to individuals and businesses. The company has been established for over 200 years and are trusted by their clients to provide a quality and personal service. For more information about GoodyBurrett, visit their website by clicking their company logo below.

GoodyBurrett Solicitors