We all know that we need to have a Will and a financial plan in place, but what many people don’t realise is that major life events will often mean that you need to take another look at your life admin. Head of Legacy Abigail Bird and Chartered Financial Planner Sam Sloma from Engage FS go over when and why you should review your financial and estate plans.
Why do you need to update your plans?
Despite the fact that we usually make financial plans for the long term, it is always recommended to keep an open mind to changing and reviewing them. As your circumstances change, it is important to update your plans to reflect your financial goals. And, in the case of your estate plan, not having an up-to-date Will or LPA and then having a change of circumstances can actually revoke a Will or make an LPA unworkable meaning your wishes cannot be followed.
Here’s a handy checklist for some common life events that might prompt you to review your finances, either at home or alongside your financial advisor or lawyer:
- A change in financial circumstances, e.g. receiving an inheritance or a bonus at work
- Buying or selling a property or business
- Getting married or entering into a civil partnership
- Having children or becoming a legal guardian
- Getting divorced
In addition to Wills and LPAs, what other documents do you recommend reviewing and updating regularly?
Sam: We have created a 'when I’m gone' checklist as we often find the best thing to do is to prepare and make all the information accessible. The key is knowing where everything is. We provide clients with an annual assets and liabilities statement which they can give to beneficiaries along with the when I’m gone document.
Are there any common scenarios you come across where clients haven’t thought to update their financial plans?
Sam: My view here is that most clients aren’t thinking about their financial plan – they are busy living their lives, working, running around after kids, or parents and life is happening all the while. We exist to remind people, and to gently nudge them about continuing to monitor and develop their plan as life happens. Planning is a journey, not the destination.
How easy is it to get a financial plan in place, and what would be your advice to someone just starting out?
Sam: My advice would be this – if you are someone who likes to be in control, to research and do things yourself, there is a ton of great literature and planning tools available online. If you are someone who likes other people to take care of things, or your time is precious and it’s more valuable to outsource, the best thing you can do is speak to a professional to help figure out where you’re going and the best way to get there.
If you would like to update or create a Will or LPA, speak to our Legacy team for more information.
Speak to a lawyer — You can reach our Legacy team on 020 3146 6312 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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