What's being left behind

Being prepared. It's important to think about scenarios such as your digital life, second marriages and joint bills.

It's important to be prepared for the unexpected.

We've listed some realistic situations below which you should consider thinking about and taking some appropriate action. Now's the time to have 'that conversation'.

If you have any questions or need our help please contact our friendly Family Service Team:

Ask us to call back

As we all spend more and more time organising our lives online, we will accumulate a digital ‘footprint’ across many online accounts. But if a loved one passed way, would you know how to do the simple things like changing the credit card on the supermarket delivery website or closing down an email account?

This is information that your executors will need to resolve your financial affairs and your family will need to shut down old accounts. It can be very distressing if your family still receives communications for you or you were the subscriber to a service that your family might want to maintain, but gets closed down.

There are things you can do:

  • Regularly spring clean your digital alerts. All those email newsletters that were useful once and you now delete without opening them – just unsubscribe
  • If you have opened accounts and only used them once or not used them for months, close them down
  • You could consider one of the many digital password 'vaults' and keep your details there. In that case you may only need to write down a single password and keep it safe. That may be something to be put in a sealed envelope and passed to your solicitor
  • Read through the terms and conditions for accounts such as facebook and LinkedIn to see what they need from your executors to close down your account.
If you have married for a second time and have step-children as well as children of your own, you must make sure that you have an up to date Will. 

Let’s take a sadly realistic situation. If you and your new partner are travelling and the unthinkable happens, the law will assume, even if you both pass away at the same time, that the elder of the couple has died first.

If you're the older partner and you haven’t left a Will, your estate passes to the younger who or may not have made a Will. Potentially this could mean that your children would be left nothing while your step-children have everything. 

The answer is that you both need to make Wills, which are flexible enough to cope with these circumstances.

You can find out more information and support on making a Will here.
This mechanism allows someone to act on your behalf to help deal with your affairs if you become incapacitated in the future. 

Depending on the Power of Attorney arrangement, family members can carry out financial, healthcare and property issues on your behalf, which helps when dealing with the strict rules that banks and other institutions have in place. 

You can find out more here.
We are all used to institutions telling us that they will only talk to the account holder.  We can understand why that is, but it is another avoidable frustration when your family has weightier things on their mind than dealing with the gas bill. 
IHT is no longer just a matter for rich people in castles to worry about. 

Whilst many of us can accept being taxed in our lifetime, when we die, the taxman may get his hands on much of our estate, reducing the amount that we can pass to our loved ones. 

With the right planning, parents should talk to their children and plan to make the most of their money. For more information on IHT please visit our Later life planning page

Preparing for the worst

We have produced a useful document so you can record all your financial details in one place, helping your family to resolve your estate as smoothly as possible when you pass away