Secret stash? Make sure you keep a record

James Beresford Slater Gordon

By James Beresford, head of wills, tax, trust and probate at Slater + Gordon.

Our recent study of 2,000 Brits reveals we’re not all as financially savvy as we think.

Almost half of us have a secret stash, with a third of us storing cash at home.

Aside from the obvious risks that it will be lost or stolen – if you die or lose capacity there’s every chance that money won’t end up where or with whom you intended.

If your savings are somewhere more secure like a bank account, but no one else knows about it, that account will stay active until the bank realises you’ve died.

Fifty seven per cent of Brits don’t have a will according to our research, as people think they have nothing bestow – however there may be sentimental items you’d like to be looked after when you’re gone – but this needs to be in writing. ‘Common law’ can cause misunderstandings as to what happens after death.

For example, if you’re in a relationship, but not married, and you don’t have a will – your other half won’t get anything, apart from certain joint assets, and it might pass to your children instead. If you have been married previously it could end up going to your ex.

If you don’t want anyone else to know about your assets – they don’t have to.

But if you do want to control what happens to your savings after your death – invest in a will and draw up a schedule of assets which can be held securely by your solicitor.

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