‘The trouble is you think you have time’ Buddha.
Accident, illness or old age are the main reasons people meet their end. Making a will is something many people have an intention of doing, but the reality is that often that they never get around to doing it. They assume that their families will automatically inherit their estate as a right. However, if you don’t have a Will the government will write your Will for you (intestate), which means can mean that the people you would wish to inherit your estate, your beneficiaries, may not.
At a time of bereavement loved ones can find themselves in financial difficulty, they can be hit by high legal fees or tax bills and are often shocked at the length of time is can take for an estate to be settled. Without Power of Attorney assets, including any joint bank accounts, are frozen which can make carrying on normally and paying household bills difficult for the surviving partner and family. There can be other traumatic consequences for any employees who find themselves in this position.
Without a will, there can be all sorts of disputes with family, especially step families. If the deceased did not specify their intentions in a will, their home could be inherited by someone else’s children rather than their own, a former partner for example. In some occasions social services have to put children into care if no provision has been made. An estate may have to pay excessive or unnecessary legal fees which could have been avoided. These factors add stress, add financial worries and cause additional delays which lengthens the time people need to cope and heal. There are many implications for employees at work.
When there is a will in place, wishes are considered, documented and are respected after someone dies. Executors have been nominated, guardians have been appointed, gifts to loved ones or charity have been considered, homes are protected, costly legal fees and excessive inheritance tax is mitigated which protects homes and beneficiaries.
Leading employers have identified benefits in offering financial education programmes for employees, which include the key areas that have a massive impact for them both in and out of work. These include financial planning, making will and trusts, caring for elderly relatives and managing debt. There is a broad menu of topics that could be included
- How to minimise the impact of care home fees
- How to pass wealth down through the generations
- How to protect your estate against divorce and bankruptcy
- How to manage debt and stress
One huge advantage for you as an employer, is that typically there is no cost for employers. Providers are happy to come to your workplace and deliver free of charge. This is an employee benefit which can be added to enhance an existing package with no additional cost and it can be offered to those working with you and their families. Feedback shows that employees greatly value this kind of support from employers.
Will writing, trusts and estate planning are topics that are not typically included in standard workplace financial education. However, one company innovating in this area is BLS (Bespoke Legal Scotland) who specialise in education programmes for employees. There are a variety of ways these can be delivered; group workshops, seminars, individual clinics or learning lunches. Their approach is education focused, to help employees understand the risks and challenges they, and their loved ones, may face. Get in touch to find out more.
Author: Love Your Employees