I hate to be the bearer of bad news but one day you’re going to pass away, maybe you’ll leave with only what you came into the world with or maybe you might have been fortunate in enough in your life to be able to leave a little something to those that you have left behind.
Your problem is, you aren’t going to have a clue what they are going to with it, you might not even care, but if you do you’re going to ask have to ask yourself, are the people that you are leaving your estate to really going to be worthy beneficiaries of your legacy?
Death is a complicated matter, only made even more so if you haven’t made a will, depending on your circumstances you could even write your own Will, but make sure that if you do you understand the risks.
But what about the burden on the beneficiaries?
Naming someone in your Will is a fantastic gesture where some looking from outside in what believe that they’ve hit the jackpot.
Depending on the characteristic of that beneficiary, the pressures that can come with it can be burdensome. Do they save it, treat themselves, invest in the stock market or property or give themselves a clean slate and pay off their debts?
Spend, Spend, Spend!
When I came into an inheritance several years ago it was amazing how many weekend financial advisers popped their heads above the parapet telling me how I should spend it.
Buy a sports car, go on exotic holidays and go out and blow it all enjoying your life, whilst I understood their sentiment, I didn’t want to feel that I had squandered it all on, besides someone had worked their whole life to enable to leave me with this money.
As daft as it sounds now, there was a mixture of excitement about how it could change my life and burden in that if I squandered the money in some strange way I was letting that person who’d left me the money down.
I didn’t have a clue, if I bought a new car it would only depreciate in value and cost me an arm and a leg to keep on the road or spend it on living the high life where I wouldn’t have anything left in just a few years, only to have regrets later on.
I’ve always been sensible with money, maybe because I’ve never really had that much, so this made my decision somewhat easier.
My new best friend
After the Executor had paid off debts and distributed monies left to the other beneficiaries, I was left with the rest.
After all the years of banking with the same bank and not a letter or call to ask how I was, suddenly they wanted to give me special treatment providing me with the “opportunity” to sit with one of their financial managers to discuss how best I could use this money. It appeared that I was now someone worth knowing, their new best friend and they could not do enough for me.
I thought I’d see what they had to say, so agreed to meet.
After an hour and a half of them trying to blind me with numbers and figures and promises of fantastic returns where I just couldn’t lose, that just didn’t make any sense whatsoever, I decided that I would stay away from the advice of the banks and I’m so glad I did.
Making the obvious but not so obvious decision
After a lot of careful thought, I decided that I was going to use a substantial amount of the money as a deposit on my first home, save some and invest.
Now in writing this I sit back and wonder whether I made the right choices, but then remember that there a lot of people working hard and still struggling to get on the property ladder, and whilst I would have preferred it that my loved one was still here and I was able to raise a deposit through my own efforts, I know that this might have been unlikely in today’s climate and I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had been given.
What lessons did I learn
1. Don’t rush your decision
2. Make sure you have no regrets in the decisions that you make
3. Be wary of those providing financial advice when you aren’t asking for it
4. Don’t spend it before you have it in your hands
5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Over to you
Have you been beneficiary of an estate? What did you do with it and have you any regrets?