What you leave behind
When you are no longer around, will those you leave behind be able to find everything, all the documents, money, bank accounts and other items. We did a study back around 20 years ago looking at what happened when bank accounts were not used for some time, particularly when a person died. We found that the banks moved the cash to an account of theirs and eventually after a period it became the banks money. While each account probably had a small amount in it, this provided the banks with a large extra income stream. As executors have no training, and are often the people upset at the time by our passing, it is not surprising that they overlook lots of accounts.
We wrote to al the banks suggesting database to help people to locate the money that had been overlooked by executors, the feedback we got back was all negative some even admitted that they shredded all information after a few years, so would be unable to identify who the previous owners of some of the money they now had was.
The solution we believe is in two parts a log book that you record all the important facts like account numbers addresses, and the like that you can kept up to date and have available, the location being mentioned in your will. The second in the future is to record this in a format that can be held at the will registry.
Some people are interested in taking this a stage further and including an asset list, so that ob their death certain assets don't just disappear, or the executors being told belong to another person.
The solution we propose
Although this project started in 1997, it has in part been been delayed by a change in the terms of reference, as we had originally intended to fund this as a free public service funded by the TV channel. Since that point we have looked at other ways to run this. Ideally it should be a free service to users, as many people are not sufficiently interested if they have to pay for it, but this is difficult to achieve without funding it from another project. It may be that the group initially needs to be more focused for those who have concern, and desperately need this, such as parents of handicapped and special need children. More recently the wider application of this area, in relation to the will registry and more has been looked at again and we have asked self Build LLC to look to see if a joint venture consortium projects could be formed to provide this service, and run the club we envisaged.
The organization referred to above could have a number of roles
Passing wealth on
The Independent Inquiry Society looked in depth a few years back at how in the UK and USA wealth is passed on and who it benefits or harms. This is not a complete report on this but a few points that the study raised.
A lot of wealth in most families is only created by property, mostly real estate, but also some other s such as company or business ownership. This is usually the home that a person acquires and lives in. In areas where property prices are higher, over time the families become wealthier by this means, while in areas where property was cheaper families did not. In more expensive areas, salaries were higher to allow for paying property cost in peoples lifetime and in effect this was accumulated and handed forward.
As families have become smaller, the number of people sharing wealth left over has been fewer and as property prices have risen the sums greater, the effect is that the sums inherited have become far more significant.
It was also significant that a larger percentage of people outlive those who they had expected to leave their wealth to, and had no one or useful purpose defined and the state inherited what they left. With more people choosing to stay single or not to have children this is likely to be an ever increasing number. Many of these people have not made a will and are missing the opportunity to do some good, at no cost to them in their lifetime.
Money or support given by very wealthy people to their children in their lifetime or beyond, often has a negative effect, they don't have the need to do anything, no will to succeed, and often do not value what that are given. Historical these people were sports people or had other challenges in their life, while today some may just party it away, or see shopping as their occupation. People who have no challenges to overcome or dreams that have to be worked at to fulfill, are usually unhappy, and often result to creating their own problems, addictions of various types coming high on the list. Failure to continue the funding or to fund at a ever higher level is seen negatively and attempts to put it right is often seen as a challenge to the right to live their own lives.
Friction can often result amongst those left behind, as wills often are only a distribution list and rarely give explanations. The feeling can also be that some assets have gone missing.
With more people being divorced and remarried the inheritance path is often effected, when a person dies often the majority of their assets go to their surviving spouse and on his or her death to the children of that person, leaving some of the children of the first person to die disinherited.
While we may think of money left as a windfall, it also has a considerable effect often on the later parts of a person life, they can have an old age wealthy or struggling, depending on what inheritances have come their way and dependent on the order that various others have passed away.