You spent a weekend estate planning and getting everything in order, but hopefully, you will have a few decades before you die.
What do you do now? Your finances are likely to change between now and your death, so how do you keep them in order? Don’t worry about a thing; we have got a checklist to help you keep your finances in order. Review these every year or every few years, and you can keep your finances in order in as little as an hour!
Financial Planning: Yearly
These things should be checked every year. We suggest doing them around the same time as your taxes or any other financial planning. You will already have all your documents out and have a good idea of the value of your assets and accounts.
Have there been any changes to your family situation?
Have people married, divorced, died, were born, or become estranged? Update your will so that your bequeathments, requests, and wishes reflect any changes to your family.
Have you acquired or lost any assets?
Ensure every asset is accounted for in the will and no one is being left an asset that no longer exists.
Do you still trust your powers of attorney?
Make changes if not.
Is your life insurance policy paid and in order?
Ensure the paperwork is in order and the beneficiaries are up to date.
Are you making use of your gifting allowance?
You can make gifts of up to £3,000 per year to circumvent inheritance tax.
Is the list of your account numbers and financial information up to date?
If not, update it.
Financial Planning: Every Three to Five Years
Along with the above list of yearly things, you should also add these checks every 3-5 years.
Are your assets still the same value?
You shouldn’t check this every year because assets can fluctuate up and down a lot. However, in three years you can get a sense of the general trend. If you have left assets to your beneficiaries, then you need to check that they are still of equal value (if that is your attention.) In the three years since you last checked, companies in your stock portfolio may have gone bust, or the value of houses may have dropped. The value of your assets may have even increased by a lot. Ensure you are still splitting your assets as you wish.
Review your situation and your health
If your health has begun to decline, then you should review your will or estate plan. Ensure you have things in place to ensure you receive proper care if you need it and some finances put aside to afford care and medical expenses. You should also seriously review your powers of attorney if your health is beginning to decline.
Are guardians still willing to take on the responsibility?
If you have appointed guardians for your children or pets after your death, are they still willing to perform that role? In three years, their circumstances may have changed. They may be caring for sick or ageing parents or have moved away. Check in to see if they are still willing to perform that role and if not, change the guardians.
Are you making full use of trusts and other tax-efficient financial vehicles?
Every three to five years, you should sit down with your financial advisor and ensure that the trusts and other financial safeguards you put in place are performing well and are as tax-efficient as possible. This will ensure you are up to date with changes to inheritance tax and that your estate is as strong as it should be.