Virtually all of our clients have Wills and a significant number of them have Lasting or Enduring Powers of Attorney too. Many of them have trusts as well. For the most part, these legal documents are in safe storage with one or other of our Will writing companies or with clients’ solicitors.
Whilst we largely have records of our clients’ legal documents and where they are stored, we don’t have records of all of them for one reason or another. These legal documents are often supported by Letters of Wishes which are not strictly legally enforceable but are persuasive in directing executors and trustees to carry out the wishes of the individual.
Some of our clients have told their spouses, children and sometimes grandchildren where all of their important legal documents are kept and some have left notes but few have documented it all comprehensively in a death checklist. Now I know this is a morbid sounding document so we have called our version of it My Documents What I own and where it is kept.
Our checklist includes the following items:
- Which websites to visit for information on how to deal with a death
- Key information such as full name, date of birth, National Insurance number and tax reference
- Key contacts
- Information about the Will and where it is stored
- Information about Lasting and Enduring Powers of Attorney
- Fully detailed information about all assets and liabilities
- Gifts made during your lifetime
- Beneficiaries details
- Clubs and organisations
- Other contacts
- Fully detailed funeral arrangements
- Log in details to computers and devices as well as social media, email and websites
Once completed the document should be kept somewhere safe and copies should be given to your executors and attorneys and any other key relatives. It’s vitally important that you make your family aware of where this document is stored. Ideally, the original copy should be stored securely remotely along with all of your other important documents.
Like your other important legal documents, you should discuss them with your financial planner every year as part of the annual review process. This is because legislation changes and new legal cases are decided regularly. Also, your personal circumstances may change and your wishes may alter too. So be prepared to change and update your documentation when necessary.* You know it makes sense.
*The contents of this blog are for information purposes only and do not constitute individual advice. You should always seek professional advice from a specialist. All information is based on our current understanding of taxation, legislation and regulations in the current tax year. Any levels and bases of and relief from taxation are subject to change. Tax treatment is based on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.