What is “Lifetime Planning”?

As you get older, your priorities change – as a footloose twenty-something year old, there’s a good chance you’ll live from weekend to weekend and the only forward planning you’ll do is for next summer’s holiday abroad.
Then, as you start moving through life, you might buy a house, have children, start a business (maybe all three) and suddenly you’ll need to have all sorts of contingencies in place for things that may or may not happen later in life.

Once you have dependents, it’s as important you plan for their future as it is your own, and a good firm of solicitors will help you get the most out of your lifetime planning.

What is lifetime planning?

Lifetime planning involves putting plans and systems in place to make sure your wishes are granted and your family are provided for, should you become infirm or pass away.

This means not only will you have to make sure your assets are in order in relation to inheritance and financial gifts, but also have processes in place to make sure your requests have been noted and will be carried out.
It’s important these processes are put in place as soon as possible to protect both you and your loved ones. While none of us like to question our own mortality, nor do any of us know what life has in store for us.

What should I consider as part of my lifetime planning?

An effective lifetime planning strategy should involve a making a will, considering a Lasting Power of Attorney, and Court of Protection and Deputyship.

  • Wills, Trusts and Probate – Writing a will involves much more than divvying out your assets when you’re gone. A qualified solicitor will be able to help you plan things like dealing with the tax implications involved in inheritance, distribution of the estate, and any trust funds: a process which can be complicated and distressing for family members.

    It’s also worth making plans for any disputed probate to deal with any issues surrounding the will or probate.

  • Lasting Powers of Attorney – This is a legal document that enables you to give someone you trust the power to make decisions on your behalf, should you ever become infirm.  While the common conception is that making a Lasting Power of Attorney is only for the elderly, it’s worth sorting out sooner rather than later as none of us know when illness or injury could strike.

    If you are a business owner, you should make separate arrangements for a Lasting Power of Attorney for your business.

  • Court of Protection and Deputyship – This may become necessary if someone has become infirm but hasn’t made any preparation for Lasting Powers of Attorney. A Court of Protection and Deputyship involves appointing a deputy to make decisions for them.

    The duties and responsibilities of a deputy include things like:

    • Dealing with the person’s day-to-day finances and property
    • Making sure funds are invested and managed properly
    • Complete any tax returns and check for any eligibility for welfare benefits
    • Consideration of wills and probate

Effective lifetime planning can be a lengthy process and could throw up some difficult decisions, but getting it right early on can make things in later life a whole lot easier.

Have you planned ahead? If yes, tell us how! If not – why not? Share with us in the comments below.