Why do most Brits shy away from talking about a legacy? In fact I’d even go as far to say they avoid it because they find it all a little too morbid. I was in a taxi a few days ago, and would you believe it we got talking to about what I did for a living. Being the type of person that likes to talk about myself (no surprises there for those that know me) I was delighted to oblige his curiosity, and almost immediately the cabbie told me he wasn’t worth anything. I really wasn’t touting for the business, honest, but found it interesting that he instantly reverted to Brit mentality of ‘best we don’t talk about that’. As it happens he wasn’t a Brit at all but let’s leave that aside for now otherwise I’d have to change the title of my article.
Being the inquisitive type I started to ask questions, and it turned out he was self-employed and ran a pretty successful business. He owned a house, was married with 3 small children and had life insurance of around £350k. I’ve talked before about how most of us are worth more dead than alive and he was no exception, but he nearly took a wrong turn when I suggested he was probably worth close to £1m.
Checking his heart rate almost as much as I was checking the meter he quizzed me about how much that might cost him, or rather his beneficiaries, when he eventually ascended to the big gates upstairs. Without planning, I told him, a lot more than my cab fare. I thought he was going to discount my fare when I told him with a little bit thought, and not too much of a sweat, he could get any inheritance tax bill down to zero with some smart use of tax breaks available to all, and the benefit of today’s nil rate band allowance.
When he mentioned he’d had a heart attack a couple of years ago I whipped out my card faster than Superman gets changed in a phone box and told him to call me and make an appointment to come see me with his wife.
Nearing the end of my journey I told him I was curious as to why he hadn’t thought about planning for this before, and unsurprisingly he told me he had always felt uncomfortable talking about it. He did say that having done so he felt a huge sense of relief. I hadn’t told him how much I charge at this point, but then he knocked off a quid from my fare so I said I’d do the same for him :)
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