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The difference between a Will and an estate plan

It’s uncomfortable thinking about death and having to put measures in place that deal with what you leave behind. But if you want to ensure your family is taken care of after your death and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, you need to be prepared.

You can protect your financial assets and your family’s financial wellbeing by carefully planning your estate and having a clear and updated Will. Here’s what you need to know about Wills and estate planning.

What is an estate?

Your estate refers to everything of value that you own: all your assets and belongings, such as property, investments, insurance and what you’re entitled to. A value is put to these assets, and if you want specific people or organisations to benefit from it (in the event of your death), you need to plan for it by putting structures such as estate plans and Wills in place.

A Will vs an estate plan

While both your Will and your estate plan deal with instructions about the distribution of assets after your death, they are vastly different and perform different roles, but both are crucially important:

Your Will is a legal document that details your wishes about how your assets will be distributed, who your beneficiaries are and who will become the guardian of your children. It’s important because it gives instructions on how to settle your affairs after you’re gone, thereby making sure your family is provided for, sparing them the burden of not having a valid Will and reducing the likelihood of fighting over who gets what.

An estate plan is the process of arranging and managing which parts of your estate will go where, in a way that aims to minimise the tax burdens associated with it to make it easier for those you leave behind. A Will forms part of your estate plan in conjunction with other documents that outline your financial affairs, such as trusts, agreements and the implications of tax (donations tax, estate duty and capital gains tax).

Not having an estate plan can result in a lot of headaches with unnecessary time and money spent sorting out someone’s estate or disputes over who benefits. You also want both your assets and your beneficiaries protected and to ensure that the inheritance value isn’t reduced too much because of a hefty tax bill.

Our dedicated estate planning experts will help you draft your Will and keep it safe. They’ll also help you structure an estate plan that meets all your needs and carries out your wishes accordingly. Give us a call on 0860 785 272 or email us at [email protected]