I was delighted to recently record a podcast with former BBC Radio Stoke presenter Charlotte Foster highlighting the importance of protecting your estate and assets.
The podcast was created to support Dying Matters Week 2018, a week devoted to encouraging people to talk more openly about dying and making plans for the future.
In my experience, people do feel uncomfortable talking about what may happen when they pass away, whether that is in terms of what will happen to the assets they have worked so hard for over their lifetime, or how they wish to be cared for and who should make decisions on their behalf if that becomes necessary.
However, burying our heads in the sand simply leads to problems and risks loved ones not receiving the maximum possible.
Nearly everyone has assets to protect or wishes that loved ones should know about. These could be items of sentimental value, digital information and data, or things with a cash value such as jewellery, bank accounts, property and life insurance.
The first step towards protecting your estate is usually to make a will and, by engaging the services of a professional wills and estates solicitor, you can also get good advice about how you can make the most of the available inheritance tax relief and make sure your estate goes to the beneficiaries that you choose.
When it comes to a person’s digital life, the key thing that I always advise people to do is to keep clear records (including passwords) for their online accounts, whether that is bank accounts, social media accounts, Paypal, online shopping accounts, music and TV streaming services.
Information about these digital assets should be kept with your will in a secure place to enable the executor of your will to close down your accounts efficiently.