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It is crucial to ensure your assets are in order, at all times. One of the main reasons is to protect your money and property against the unfortunate possibility of a terminal illness, or worse – death.

There’s no way of knowing when a terminal illness may strike, so it’s worth ensuring that your assets are organised and protected at all times. I mean, why would you? You are young and healthy- getting sick is the least thing on your mind right now.

However, as with anything in life, nothing is guaranteed and you can bet your bottom dollar that something will happen when you least expect it.

So what should you do? Here, the experts at www.cheselden.co.uk have put together a helpful guide:

Get a will

The first step is to make sure that your will is up to date. Without a valid will, your estate will automatically pass to your spouse if you’re married, or to your children if you have them; or to the closed living relative. If there is no will and no-one had a legal claim to your estate, your assets will revert to the state.

Having a will means that you can specify who you would like to inherit your assets, and also allows you to divide your assets between multiple persons. This can be especially useful in avoiding Inheritance Tax, which may apply to estates with a value of greater than £325,000.

So if you don’t want your assets to automatically pass to someone, you need to get it down in writing.

Record everything you own

Your estate consists of the value of your assets, minus the cost of your debts. If you die, the beneficiaries of your will cannot receive anything until a Probate has been issued, confirming the net value of your estate.

Probate settlement can sometimes take years, especially when the deceased has failed to keep accurate records. You can help to avoid this by making sure your records are in good order right now. Make a list of everything you own, including property, savings and investments.

Make a similar list of all outstanding debts; this will give you an idea of what you might leave behind, so that your estate might be settled quickly. Gather and file all paperwork relating to these items and store them in a secure location.

Try to make it as easy as possible for someone else to get their hands on the relevant information. If it is locked by a password or key, ensure that a trustworthy loved-one has access.

After all, you wouldn’t want to pass with the knowledge that your loved-ones are going to have to fight tooth and nail for several years, simply because you failed to record your estate accurately?

Don’t forget your pension

Remember that your pension is also an asset. You can nominate a beneficiary to receive your tax-free lump sum, if it has not already been claimed.

Additionally, it is important to know how to cover your care home fees, so that your assets are protected.

The article was written by Cheselden, the UK’s leading continuing care review specialists.  They are the only company with a panel of clinical experts dedicated to continuing care claims, so if you believe that a loved-one has wrongly paid care home fees, you can claim it back- even if they are now deceased. 

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