Monday, 22 October 2012
Will I Or Won’t I? – The Importance of Putting Your Affairs in Order
A leading consumer watchdog estimated that 60% of people die without making a will. While nobody likes dwelling on the prospect of their own death for too long (or speaking to lawyers), without someone trained and qualified helping you make sure you have jumped through all the relevant legal hoops, your assets will be divided according to state or federal law instead of your own wishes – it is your money after all, so it’s best to bite the bullet and get down to making a will
Some things to remember:
∙Take Scrooge-like care when passing on your wealth to your children – it’s understandable that you don’t want to be stung by inheritance tax, but make sure the legal safeguards are in place.
∙Always seek impartial advice – sometimes even your bank manager can be an ally if you catch them in a good mood
∙Remember that life is for living – leave room in your budget for fun, otherwise there’s just no point in having spent all those years working hard
∙Don’t let money create a feud between you and your loved ones – personal relationships are far more precious than pounds
However there can be some fun in making a will you could, for instance, insert a couple of unusual conditions – you may as well leave the world laughing, how about these for inspiration...
∙Napoleon Bonaparte specified that he wanted his head shaved and his locks divided equally among his friends – I don’t know about you but I’m not sure I’ll have enough to go around!
∙Robert Louis Stevenson tried to leave his birthday to a friend who complained that being born at Christmas meant that she never go enough presents
For the kids:
∙in 1862 a man called Henry Budd left £200,000 ($325,000) in a trust for his two sons on the condition that neither of them ever grew a moustache
∙Edith S of Walsall left £50,000 ($80,000) to each of her three children with the proviso that it should not be wasted on “slow horses and fast women and only a very small amount of booze
Very lucky pets:
∙if Forbes magazine produced a rich list for animals, then the top-dog would most certainly be German Shepherd, Gunther IV, who inherited £92 million ($150 million) from an eccentric German countess in 2000
∙personally, my least favourite, because of my admittedly incredibly irrational fear of cats, is Jonathan Jackson of Columbus, Ohio, who dedicated his estate to the creation of a cat house. The house reportedly came complete with custom-made bedrooms, and gym, a dining hall and a music room
Having that final word:
∙Anthony Scott included the following sharp-tongued sentiment in his will: “To my first wife Sue, whom I always promised to mention in my will. Hello Sue!”
Prices for wills can vary greatly, but if you don’t want to be too out of pocket there are a lot of deals to be found with a thorough search on the internet – these include “2 for 1” offers for you and your partner – also look out for charity-led schemes which offer the opportunity to make a will for a discounted fee – the proceeds of which are then fed back into the charity.Next week I will be discussing Cyber Retirement Communities – Are we Silver Surfers?