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Understanding the Basics of Estate Planning and Wills

Understanding the Basics of Estate Planning and Wills

“Legacy is not what I did for myself. It’s what I’m doing for the next generation” ― Vitor Belfort

3 min read

Understanding the Basics of Estate Planning and Wills

Understanding the Basics of Estate Planning and Wills

“Legacy is not what I did for myself. It’s what I’m doing for the next generation” ― Vitor Belfort

3 min read

Estate planning is a critical aspect of securing your assets and ensuring their distribution according to your wishes after you pass away. A fundamental component of estate planning is the creation of a will, a legal document that outlines how your assets and properties are managed and distributed among beneficiaries. That being said, it also includes considerations for potential incapacitation. Through tools like a power of attorney or a living will, you can outline preferences for medical care and appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.

Such documents offer clarity and ease the burden on your loved ones during challenging times, ensuring your wishes are upheld in matters of healthcare and financial decisions. It’s not all just about loss of life or incapacity though, there are also opportunities to minise taxes and expenses that would otherwise diminish the value of your estate. It is advisable to take professional advice where necessary to ensure you are operating on the optimal legal avenues to preserve wealth for your heirs. 

As a client of Patterson Mills, you gain access to not only our services, but all of our contacts you may need to have everything taken care of professionally and efficiently.

The Purpose and Components of a Will

A will acts as a blueprint for handling your estate after your death. It specifies who receives your assets, such as property, investments, personal belongings, and finances. Additionally, a will appoints an executor, an individual responsible for executing the terms of the will, and may include guardianship provisions for minor children where applicable. 

Moreover, a will allows you to express your preferences beyond asset distribution. It can outline funeral arrangements, charitable donations, and specific instructions for bequeathing sentimental items or heirlooms. This document serves as a means to clarify your intentions, alleviating potential conflicts or confusion among beneficiaries, ensuring your wishes are respected. The executor named in your will plays a crucial role in administering your estate.

They are tasked with managing the probate process, settling outstanding debts, distributing assets according to the will’s instructions, and representing your estate in legal matters. Carefully selecting an executor who is trustworthy, responsible, and capable of handling these responsibilities is pivotal to the smooth execution of your estate plan. Understanding these various components allows you to craft a comprehensive will that reflects your desires and safeguards your legacy.

Importance of Updating and Reviewing Your Will

Regularly reviewing and updating your will is crucial, especially after significant life events such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of children or grandchildren. These changes can impact your estate plan, necessitating amendments to ensure your will accurately reflects your current wishes.

Life is dynamic, and your will, much like your financial plan, should evolve in line with changing circumstances. Major life events like marriage, divorce, or the birth of children can significantly affect your assets and beneficiaries. Failing to update your will to include new family members or to remove ex-partners might result in unintended distributions or disputes. Similarly, changes in financial status, such as significant investments, inheritances, or property acquisitions, should prompt a review of your estate plan to ensure these assets are appropriately included.

Furthermore, legal developments or alterations in tax laws can also influence the effectiveness of your estate plan. Staying informed about legislative changes and seeking appropriate legal advice to align your will with the current legal landscape is vital. An outdated will might not only be insufficient but could also lead to complications during probate, delaying the distribution of assets and potentially resulting in unintended outcomes. 

Ensuring Legal Compliance and Seeking Professional Guidance

To ensure your will is legally sound and aligned with your intentions, it is worthwhile seeking legal advice from a qualified solicitor. A professional can provide invaluable guidance, clarify legal nuances, and assist in navigating complex estate laws, guaranteeing your will complies with legal requirements. If you are moving around multiple jurisdictions, you may also have to check local laws and where your will is written.

As well as our financial planning services, Patterson Mills has the contacts necessary to ensure every aspect of your financial life is cared for as efficiently as possible. So, get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting, you will be pleased that you did. Send us an e-mail to info@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all information within this article has been prepared for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

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Financial Planning

Tenant Turnover: Minimising Vacancy and Maximising Profit

Tenant Turnover: Minimising Vacancy and Maximising Profit

“Home wasn’t built in a day” ― Jane Sherwood Ace

3 min read

Landlord - Tenant Turnover

Tenant Turnover: Minimising Vacancy and Maximising Profit

“Home wasn’t built in a day” ― Jane Sherwood Ace

3 min read

Tenant turnover can significantly affect a landlord’s bottom line, leading to extended vacancies and increased costs. Minimising these turnovers and maximising profit involves strategic planning and proactive measures that Patterson Mills will tell you about below!

Effective Tenant Retention Strategies

Firstly, retaining good tenants is key to minimising turnover. Providing excellent customer service, responding promptly to maintenance requests, and periodic communication can build strong landlord-tenant relationships. Alternatively, ensure you employ an agency, that has a record of providing positive results and good tenants, to handle any tenant queries on your behalf. Offering lease extensions or incentives for renewals can also encourage tenants to stay longer.

Tailoring incentives to individual tenants can yield positive results. Offering upgrades, such as appliance updates or interior enhancements, based on tenant preferences or providing rent discounts for extended lease terms, shows commitment to your tenant’s satisfaction and encourages long-term residency. Such personalised gestures often create a sense of value and loyalty among tenants, enhancing their inclination to stay.

You may even be able to go so far as to begin creating a sense of community by organising occasional social events, creating online forums for tenant interaction, or implementing feedback mechanisms, all of which can strengthen your tenant’s attachment to the property.

Regularly seeking feedback from tenants about their living experiences and making necessary improvements or adjustments based on their suggestions demonstrates a proactive approach. This continuous commitment to enhancing the tenant experience not only increases satisfaction but also builds trust, potentially leading to longer tenancies.

Naturally, where you may be unable to action any of the above, it may be worth checking with your agency of choice to see whether any of these strategies can be put in place without your personal involvement.

Streamlined Move-In and Move-Out Processes

Efficient move-in and move-out processes contribute to tenant satisfaction and can minimise vacancies. Provide a thorough move-in checklist, ensure timely repairs, and return security deposits promptly based on agreed terms and conditions.

A comprehensive checklist detailing the property’s condition during move-in establishes a clear reference point for both landlords and tenants. Conduct a detailed walkthrough, noting the property’s condition, functionality of appliances, existing damages (if any), and meter readings. Documenting this information in writing or especially with photographs and videos helps avoid disputes at the end of the tenancy.

Efficiently resolving maintenance issues, whether minor or major, helps maintain the property’s quality and enhances tenant satisfaction, whilst also potentially attracting new tenants should your existing one depart.

A transparent and fair approach to handling security deposits is crucial. Returning deposits promptly as per the terms of the rental agreement or providing a detailed explanation for any deductions maintains trust and goodwill between landlords and tenants. Clearly communicate the criteria for deposit deductions and ensure compliance with local regulations regarding deposit handling.

Marketing and Preparing for New Tenants

Should a property of yours becomes vacant, swift action is vital. Market the property effectively, highlighting its features and amenities. Ensure the unit is thoroughly cleaned, conduct necessary repairs or upgrades, and consider adjusting the rental rate competitively.

Utilise various marketing channels to showcase the property. Engage in online platforms, such as property listing websites, social media, and relevant forums, to reach a wider audience. Include high-quality photographs and detailed descriptions highlighting unique features, location benefits, and nearby amenities to attract potential tenants.

First impressions matter. Enhance the property’s curb appeal by maintaining a well-groomed exterior. Consider simple landscaping, fresh paint, or minor upgrades to make the property visually appealing. A welcoming exterior encourages prospective tenants to explore further.

Pricing the property competitively in the current market is also essential to attract potential tenants. Conduct thorough research on rental rates in the area to determine a fair and attractive price point. Offering incentives, such as a discounted rate for longer leases or including utilities in the rent, can make the property more appealing to prospective tenants.

Screening and Selecting Quality Tenants

Thoroughly screening prospective tenants helps in selecting reliable renters. Conduct background checks, verify employment and income, and check rental history where possible to minimise the risk of problematic tenants.

Performing comprehensive background checks on prospective tenants includes running credit checks to evaluate their financial reliability, criminal background checks to ensure a clean record, and verifying references from previous landlords or property managers. These checks offer insights into their financial stability, behaviour, and reliability as tenants.

Verifying employment and income details is crucial to assess a tenant’s ability to pay rent consistently. Request recent payslips, employment verification letters, or bank statements to confirm a stable income source. A recommended benchmark is that a tenant’s monthly income should ideally be three times the monthly rent.

Finally, scrutinise the applicant’s rental history to understand their past behaviour as tenants. Contact previous landlords to inquire about their payment consistency, adherence to lease terms, and any history of property damage or eviction. This step helps gauge their reliability and responsibility as tenants and whether they will treat your property respectfully.

Financial Planning and Contingency Measures

It is true that you may not find the ideal tenant right away. Thus, having financial reserves to cover potential vacancies and unexpected expenses is crucial. Such reserves setting aside funds for property maintenance or mortgage can cushion financial blows resulting from a lack of turnover.

Building a reserve fund specifically allocated for property-related expenses ensures preparedness for unforeseen vacancy circumstances. Aim to set aside a portion of rental income each month into this fund, earmarked exclusively for maintenance, repairs, and potential vacancies. This reserve acts as a safety net, enabling you to address immediate financial needs without impacting your personal finances.

Incorporating vacancy costs into financial planning is essential. Allocating a portion of the rental income to cover potential vacancies aids in maintaining a steady cash flow during unoccupied periods.

Regular property maintenance is essential for its upkeep and tenant satisfaction. Allocating funds for preventive maintenance and periodic upgrades enhances property value and tenant retention. Implementing a proactive maintenance schedule helps identify and address issues before they escalate, reducing unexpected expenses and potential vacancies.

Securing Long-Term Profitability

Minimising tenant turnover requires a proactive approach and strategic planning. By creating positive landlord-tenant (or agency-tenant) relationships, streamlining processes, and implementing prudent financial planning, you can reduce vacancies and maximise the profitability in your rental property(ies).

Within the holistic financial planning services at Patterson Mills, our experienced Financial Advisers will be able to ensure your rental property(ies) and any contingency measures are in place for when you need them. Such planning is part and parcel of our service.

So, get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting, you will be pleased that you did. Send us an e-mail to info@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all information within this article has been prepared for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.