You would be surprised at how many people fail to prepare a will before they pass away – and this is bound to have an adverse effect on the loved ones that they have left behind. Excuses range from not thinking they will die anytime soon, to procrastination and simple laziness – but not creating a will is a huge mistake and something that your family will have to pay for.
By planning and keeping an updated will you will be sparing your loved ones expenses, hurt and often conflict, and it ensures that you leave behind everything just as you would’ve wished. We completely understand that no one wants to think about their own death, but dealing with will and estate planning is absolutely essential and will allow your family to concentrate on getting through the grieving process rather than spending time on administrative issues.
Here are 10 simple steps to follow for easy will and estate planning:
The first step in will and estate planning is taking stock of what assets you have. Real estate investments, insurance policies, business interests, stock, retirement savings and sentimental but valuable items like jewellery should all be considered. You then have to spend some time thinking about how you would like to split up your estate between your heirs.
Draft your will
The next stage in will and estate planning is to create the first, rough draft of your will. If your assets are simple and easily worked out, then you can simply use one of the many online will calculator tools such as this one from This is Money, to work out your inheritance tax. If your estate is a little bit more complicated, hiring an attorney to help you out will be the best thing that you can do to ensure that you get everything written and worked out correctly.
Find an executor of your estate
The executor of your will is the person that you put in charge of making sure that everything goes according to your will. Property and assets should be distributed, all tax implications need to be dealt with and so on. The executor could be a legal representative or someone like an accountant or it could be a loved one – most importantly – it needs to be someone that you trust implicitly to carry out your wishes when you are gone.
Assign power of attorney
Some people are luckier than others when it comes to aging, but for many people it often means some form of incapacitation, whether that is physically or mentally. Assigning a power of attorney means that you give someone the permission to sign documents and make decisions for you in the event that you become unable to do so yourself.
Life insurance is a great idea if you have young children or loved ones and still owe a significant amount of money on your house, or if you don’t have a nest egg left behind for them. This will ensure that your loved ones have something to keep them going once you have gone, this is a particularly important part of will and estate planning if you are the main breadwinner in the house.
A living will is something that is more medically based but still an essential part of will and estate planning. It’s basically directions for medical interventions in the event that you become terminally ill, paralysed or unable to communicate your wishes for some reason or other. While this is subject to rules and regulations, depending on where you are situated, your wishes will be taken very seriously and a living will could be the difference between living a half life for another ten years or passing away while you still have some sort of quality of life to remember.
Power of attorney for your healthcare
Also known as a healthcare proxy, a healthcare attorney is someone who will be able to ensure that your wishes are most likely to be carried out correctly. You must sign a durable power of attorney that will be able to comprehend the medical intricacies of your condition, who can handle making big decisions and someone you can trust to keep your best interests at heart – no matter how tough that may be.
Update your will regularly
You should update your will around once a year to keep it up-to-date with any new assets gained or lost. Also take into account any new births, family additions or deaths that may affect who your heirs are etc.
Talk to your heirs
When it comes to will and estate planning you need to remember that inheritance is a contentious issue and is bound to cause angst amongst your loved ones if it isn’t discussed properly. Gather your heirs and communicate to them your wishes and reasons for leaving what you have to whom – it will make it easier for them to understand once you have gone.
Think about creating a trust
If you have a sizeable amount of inheritance that you plan on leaving behind – then you may want to create some sort of trust – particularly if children are involved. A trust is a legal structure that stipulates when and how much heirs can use their inheritance, as well as being exempt from creditors, lawsuits and is beneficial for tax reasons.
Will and estate planning is absolutely essential to ensure that your loved ones can go through the grieving process without having to worry about admin, or conflict within the family. Property is one of the best investments you can make and is something special you can leave behind for your loved ones to remember you by.
Buy a holiday home somewhere exotic that you can use as a family holiday spot, and rent it out for an extra income and then leave it behind when you go. Calpe is a beautiful small town on Spain’s Costa Blanca coastline that makes a perfect spot for property investment. Have a look at our portfolio of villas in Calpe and feel free to ask us for professional advice about the real estate market or simply visiting Calpe any time of the year.