Firebreak Fatigue? Take Lock Stock of your Finances
- AuthorMike Downey
Nobody wanted to see Wales go into another lockdown, but it is important that we support each other and the public health at this difficult time.
If you have run out of DIY jobs to do and you cannot face baking any more banana bread, why not use this time wisely to get on top of your finances - lock, stock and barrel.
Mike Downey, Director and Head of Lifetime Planning in the South East at JCP Solicitors, shares his practical tips to help get your money in shape:
- Make a list of all of your assets, where they are held - for example in which bank or building society - and make a note of the account numbers and the current balances, keeping this in a secure place under lock and key.
- If your house is not registered at HM Land Registry, where are the original deeds? These are very important documents which need to be kept safe. It may be worth you considering applying to HM Land Registry to voluntarily register your property. By doing this, you are safe in the knowledge that the title to your property is noted on the central registry in your name.
- If you use on-line facilities, make a secure list of passwords and account numbers, and store this in a very safe place, under lock and key. Your Solicitor may be happy to store these with your Will, or a trusted family member could hold these for you.
- Make sure you include the password for accessing your computer or tablet. It’s no use having all your financial information stored on it if no-one can access it.
- Tell your family and your executors where to find all your financial information. If you have an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) who manages your Pensions and Investments then make sure their details are made known; perhaps keep their business card with your important documents. Make sure your Solicitor’s details are stored here too.
- Review your Will. When did you last do this? Is it up to date? Are your Executors and Beneficiaries still correct? At JCP Solicitors we recommend you review your Will at least every three years.
- Would your family know where to find your Will if they needed it? Where is the original stored?
- Consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney if you have not already got this in place. Lasting Powers of Attorney come in two parts. One part deals with financial matters, while the other part deals with health and care matters. The financial side can be used as soon as it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, but the health side can only ever be used if you no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. By granting Power of Attorney, you give another person or persons the ability to do things for you in the event that you cannot manage them by yourself.
- Consider making lifetime gifts, if you can afford to do this. Everyone can give up to £3,000.00 per annum tax free so a couple can give £6,000.00. If larger gifts are made, these will fall outside your estate seven years after they have been made for the purposes of Inheritance Tax calculations.
- You may want to consider releasing some of the equity in your home so you can make improvements or adaptations, or release a bit of money to make life more comfortable. A lifetime mortgage, known as equity release, may be an option for you to consider. We can signpost you to a financial advisor who can advise you on this.
Sorting our financial affairs can give some security and certainty during these uncertain times. A member of our Lifetime Planning team will always be available to offer you expert guidance, over the telephone, by video conference or another method which suits you.