Ah the 80s, simpler times…
…when you and eight of your cousins could all squeeze into the back of your uncle’s battered estate, arguing over who got to ride in the boot. Laughing at kids who wore cycle helmets. Kicking your mates so they couldn’t get near your brand new shell suit with a lighter and a can of hairspray.
Having survived all that, you might be tempted to believe the Kids from Fame when they tell you you’re going to live forever.
But let’s face it, they didn’t and neither will you.
Most of us have gone from Pretty in Pink to Knee Deep in Nappies in what seemed like the blink of an eye. We’re the ‘Kidult’ generation, still thinking of wills and estate planning as ‘grown up’ things that we don’t need to worry about until we’re knocking on retirement.
But if you have kids of your own, then planning for the future isn’t something you should put off any longer. Here are just some of the issues that affect you now:
Kids of the 80s – and your kids
If your children are under 18, have you decided who should look after them if both you and your partner should die? Have you discussed this with the person who you’d wish to be their guardian and have they agreed to it?
And if there is any inheritance, who will look after it for your children until they are old enough to inherit?
You must be especially careful in setting out the terms of your will if you have children from a previous relationship. If you married or remarried after you had children, then that invalidates any previous wills and your spouse is now first in line to inherit if you die – your children may get nothing.
To find out more about what can happen to your children if you don’t plan ahead, read A Lack of Trust: how a loving mother left her daughter homeless and penniless, by accident.
Mortgages, Life Insurance, Death in Service
Many people don’t believe they have anything of any significance to leave, so they don’t think they need a will. But those life insurance policies gathering dust in a drawer, or a ‘Death in Service’ payment might pay off a substantial part (if not all) of your mortgage, turning your current moneypit into a substantial asset.
Have you decided who it should benefit? If not, you should read 5 Intestacy Nightmares You Can Avoid.
Cohabitation and ‘Common Law Marriage’
Back in the eighties, this was still referred to as ‘Living in Sin’. Nowadays it’s so common that many people make the mistake of thinking it’s covered by ‘Common Law’.
But Common Law marriage is like the proverbial verbal agreement – not worth the paper it’s written on. It doesn’t exist, much less give you any legal protection should you or your partner pass away.
For more information on how to protect yourself and your children if you are cohabiting, read Common Law Marriage, the Unicorn and Other Myths.
Lasting Power of Attorney
And even if you are married, did you know that if your other half is ever mentally incapacitated – by illness or injury – then you have no right to make medical or financial decisions on their behalf?
It’s not widely publicised, but the Government recommends that everyone put a Lasting Power of Attorney in place to nominate the person or persons they would like to make decisions on their behalf, should they ever be unable to advocate for themselves.
If you want to find out more about what can happen if you don’t put an LPA in place, read our article, Do You Trust Your Spouse?
So although it’s fun to revisit the past, it’s time to get Back to the Future – your family’s future – and put some concrete plans in place.
You know, just in case a flying Delorean doesn’t show up to fix it all for you.
If you’d like to book a free consultation with one of our legal experts to discuss this, or any other issue, book online or call 01342 477 102 and quote ‘Kids of the 80s‘.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.