Your money lives on when you are gone
Anyone who has watched Midsummer Murders on TV will know how unexpectedly death can occur.
As distressing as your death might be, handled properly it is a fantastic tax avoidance event. With a well set-up trust, your business affairs can continue and no one need miss you at all (so accountants say). However, leave a mess and your relatives must sort it out, as well as coping with their abject grief at losing you.
There are three steps to putting your legal affairs in order prior to your immediate demise.
Step 1 A will
Many of you might prefer to leave this detail until you are on your deathbed. Apart from causing your lawyer to run around like a scalded cat it can be a prelude to the family dividing between those who were at the deathbed and who, coincidentally, benefited from the will, and those who couldn’t make it and lost out.
Step 2 An enduring power of attorney
This enables one, two or more people chosen by you (called attorneys) to deal with your affairs if you are in a coma or otherwise lost your marbles. You must trust your attorneys absolutely. In the past, this power has been used by unscrupulous individuals (children) to disadvantage other individuals (the other children). So choose carefully.
Step 3 An advance health directive
This is called various names in different countries but gives much detail on how you wish to be treated (medically) if you are unable to say yourself. It can be, in effect, a Do Not Revive notice. It tells your relatives when to turn the machine off and, in some cases, when to keep their fingers off the button. Without it, typically, there can be fights between your parents, friends, relatives who want to keep the machine on and your spouse who has moved on and wants closure. An advance health directive can avoid all this.
Look on the bright side—you may die, but your money and property live on.
© Paul Brennan 2006. All rights reserved.