Will You or Won’t You?
5th February, 2018
According to a recent YouGov survey, it is estimated that more than half of all UK adults have not yet made a Will.
Planning for what happens when you die might seem like an uncomfortable conversation, but the reality is that if you make a Will, it does not mean you will die tomorrow. At Aaron and Partners, we hold many Wills which have been made by clients who have continued living their lives for decades, reassured in the knowledge that their affairs have been taken care of.
Aside from peace of mind, there are a number of other reasons why you should make a Will:
1. Cremation or burial?
It might seem that a burial or cremation are your only options, but throughout history there have been plenty of unconventional alternatives. For example:
John “Pop” Reed, a stagehand who worked at the Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, had his wish granted when his skull was used during the production of Hamlet to represent the skull of Yorrick.
Sandra West, the oil heiress, was buried in a white nightgown in the front seat of her 1964 powder blue Ferrari 250GT “with the seat slanted comfortably”.
It is also possible to have your ashes blasted into space, either to the Earth’s orbit or onto the surface of the moon.
By making a Will, this ensures your wishes are respected, whatever they might be.
You can gift the assets which you value the most to those who will appreciate them.
Famous gifts left throughout history have included:
- William Shakespeare’s “second best bed” to his wife Anne Hathaway;
- British fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s legacy of £50,000 for the upkeep of his pet dogs;
- A Georgian doctor was left a fortune by a widowed client on the condition that he visited her every year. He had her body embalmed and placed inside a broken grandfather clock in his attic for the annual visit;
- Harry Houdini left his wife, Bess, part of his estate with the request that she performed a séance to contact him on the anniversary of his death, ironically 31st October. Houdini and Bess had a secret code of ten random words, so Bess would know it was Houdini she was speaking to. Bess tried to contact Houdini unsuccessfully for ten years, although Houdini fans still continue this tradition.
- Perhaps the best gift of all is from 1975, when half a lemon was left to each of the local HM Inspector of Taxes and the Collector of Taxes, with the message “And now squeeze this”.
On a more serious note, you can make provision in your Will for your grandchildren’s education or gifts to charities. A Will can also be used for careful inheritance tax planning to minimise a potential liability.
If you do not bother to make a Will, then the state will decide how your estate is carved up, which invariably will not be as you would have chosen.
At Aaron and Partners, we take a personal and professional approach to helping high net worth individuals protect their wealth and plan for the future. If you would like to discuss making a Will or reviewing your existing Will then please contact Clive Pointon, Partner & Head of the Wills, Trusts & Tax team.
Legal 500 – Clive Pointon, team head at Aaron & Partners LLP, is ‘very knowledgeable and an excellent communicator’. Clive Pointon is ‘clear, realistic, patient and good humoured’.
Chambers & Partners – Clive Pointon is praised by clients as ‘extremely thorough and highly experienced.’
As featured in the February 2018 issue of Cheshire Life