Life planning, estate planning & drafting your will

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Hey folks greetings on this wonderful Saturday evening.

I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to do a live yesterday and I was hoping to do an amazing podcast interview with a gentleman I’ve known for almost 15 years. Harminder and I, if you’ve been following us on the Growth Tribes podcast you’ll know that we started to bring in special guests on specific subjects. 

I wanted to take a few minutes of your time to share a bit about the interview we did yesterday. With the podcasts at the moment we’re starting to bring in people we feel can add massive value and have been in their field for a good period of time. I’m looking to get a different spread of messages through the podcast from health, vitality, finances. You might have seen one on covid-19 and the spread of the disease.

This week we did a podcast on estate planning and wills. It was a real eye-opener. It was supposed to be around about an hour to an hour and a quarter podcast, turned out to be two hours talking about estate planning and wills. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but in the last two or three weeks my understanding is that the number of people going online to download wills and to update their wills has spiked and of course that is not unusual in the view of what’s happening at the moment.

When we framed the podcast we explained that look we’re not trying to be morbid, but we are trying to be pragmatic and the reality is that most people haven’t actually spent a lot of time doing their estate planning and looking at life planning and the wills. What was really interesting in the conversation we had and bearing in mind I’m 54, Harminder is 30 and the gentlemen we interviewed and I’ll let you come and listen to it so you get a chance to experience it. He is probably in his mid-40s, mid-to-late 40s and he has been in the game a long time. I’ve known him for 15 years as well, really straight up guy, very experienced, but really pragmatic in the way we laid this out.

We had questions we wanted to ask him and then during the course of the podcast, he actually opened up and mentioned certain things that led to conversations. So everything from married people to unmarried people, to what happens if you’ve been married before and then you had a will but you remarry and actually, there are implications on that. The voiding of wills, so a couple of things I discovered to do with wills that I didn’t realise could become voided under certain circumstances.

We also discussed the whole idea that most people have a will and they believe that’s everything. Whereas he talked very much about the philosophy of estate planning throughout your life. So in other words, as you go through your life in different phases, we covered everything from relationships to children, to trusts, to offshore right through to property investors because we know we have a lot of people who follow us who are property investors, to entrepreneurs. That’s why it ended up being two hours and with me I’m very specific about the questions I ask, Harminder was the same. He asked some cracking questions from a young person’s perspective.

If you are watching this right now amidst the whole covid-19 situation for everybody listening and watching, wants to stay healthy and vibrant, protect ourselves, keep your immune system up. And avoid any of that potential risk to our lives and our family, reality is and this is what came out of the podcast that we should plan for it anyway. We should be planning now and not waiting for something like this to occur. What was also very clear was the idea of filling in an online will or downloading a will from the Internet and paying some cheap price and doing some kind of generic will, it is just not going to work.

Particularly if you’ve got kids, if you own more than one property. One of the questions I asked to clarify for our listeners was what is classified as your estate. Basically, your estate is everything that you own, it can be everything from your home through to investment properties, to a car if it’s unencumbered, to jewellery that you might have. To possessions, shares, stocks, investments, money in the bank, it’s anything and everything you own. 

That estate if there is not some sort of planning in place, it will by default, fall into a will, if there is no will in place then actually that’s a really interesting conversation. I’ll let you listen to the podcast to find out what he shared with us about that. What’s really interesting is the number of people that don’t do estate planning throughout their life, they wait and particularly young people. 

One of the questions we asked was when do you need to start this process? He said the minute you start actually owning any sort of asset whatsoever, for example, your first home and this needs to be sorted out very quickly. And is it owned in your name? Are you a couple? Are you a common-law husband and wife? There’s an impact there. If you get a divorce and go into another relationship you want to listen to that section, that was like woah. 

What was really interesting and came out of the conversation bearing in mind the number of people that he’s helped over the years up to multimillionaires down to everyday people. Is that in the Asian community and this came out from my background, half Asian, Harminder is Asian. In the Asian community the older people, in other words the parents very rarely want to discuss with the children about the estate, about the will to the point where he even mentioned about one of his clients. 

Harminder asked the question, how can we raise this subject with our parents as mostly in England and the United Kingdom people aren’t so open about wills and children aren’t good at discussing with the parents about what possessions they have, what’s the estate. The  problem is if there isn’t any sort of anything written down in the journey of your life, i.e. in the estate planning. In such a way that it is not clear when it gets to the death of a member of the family that is very emotional. First of all we’re going into mourning as we’ve lost a member we love. Secondly, we’re in a situation where a family member might be disputing the will, so estate planning is really important.

The way to think of this is this. If you’ve got a pressure cooker and you put heat on it and you keep the cap on, that pressure builds up. At some point off it goes, that is a bit like a death leading straight into a will without any estate planning happening. Whereas estate planning through your life whether you’re 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 60, if you start right now it’s like releasing the pressure on the pressure cooker all the way through the cook. Effectively it’s not going to point where it’s going to explode. Meaning that by the time you get to the will it’s simply guiding the family to reflect back on the estate planning. Entrusting your assets into a trust, whether it’s a discretionary trust. Whether it is not these are all factors that came up in the conversation as well. 

If you’re listening to this right now bearing in mind we are in lockdown for at least another month and a half to two months. Please make sure you listen to that podcast. I do highly recommend that you get your parents to listen to it. I need to go back and have a look at a few things on a personal level, because I’ve realised there are some gaps in what we have got set up. I certainly need to talk to my mum and I’ve got to check in with my brothers as well. My middle brother Marcus had a heart attack last year, he is 51 years of age. My mum had a heart attack as well when we lost a member of our family.

So these things happen and as much as we want our families to live forever and stay healthy. The unexpected can happen and we need to prepare for that, so it’s not a particularly  upbeat message for the end of a Saturday.

What I really want to say is love your family, protect your family now and think about protecting the future as well, in such a way that there is not the emotional pressure on people in the event that something happens to you. The same thing goes to your parents as well. It might be worth sharing it with them. 

Some of the stories shared on the podcast were quite disturbing and quite upsetting just based on people not doing it, not putting the preparation in place.

I’m going to sign out, take care everyone have a lovely Saturday night.

Disclaimer: This video or written publication does not offer investment or financial advice and nothing in them should be construed as investment or financial advice. Our publications provide information and education only. The information contained in our publications is not, and should not be seen as a recommendation to use any particular investment strategy. Always seek financial advice from an independent financial adviser around your own personal financial situation.

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