Research carried out by an insurance firm last year found that a quarter of Brits don't know where their spouse or partner's money is held. This is because a significant proportion of us don't give our partners access to details of our finances, such as pension or bank account information. While this doesn't necessarily pose issues during the relationship, it can cause issues if that person was to die unexpectedly, as these assets may not be easy to locate.
If you own assets that your partner doesn't know about or know where to find, then you can store an up to date list of these assets alongside your Will. Then if the worst happens, you know that your loved one will have all the information they need.
The research found that cohabiting couples are statistically more likely than married couples to withhold details of their finances from one another. The results found that overall, 32% of those in a relationship don't give their partner access to their workplace pension details, and over a quarter (28%) don't share details of their savings accounts. When looking specifically at married couples, these figures are 20% and 17% respectively.
What Happens if Your Assets Can't Be Found?
Assets which can't be easily located after the owner has died are called 'hidden assets' and these can pose a real problem to those left behind who are dealing with their Estate. After someone dies, their affairs will need to be wound up, assets sold or transferred and inheritance passed on to those entitled to receive it. This process is called Probate.
One of the first stages of Probate is to locate and value all of the assets owned by the deceased. If some of these assets can't be easily located, then searches will need to be carried out which can take time and may also incur additional costs. As a result, locating hidden assets can have a direct impact on how quickly the Estate can be wound up.
Common examples of hidden assets might include old insurance or investment policies, pension schemes held via previous employers, financial interested in a property that's owned by someone else, or shares in a company.
Store Details of Your Assets alongside Your Will
Not all couples want to share all of their financial information with one another, and this is their prerogative. However, as you can see, this can often cause unexpected problems when one person is left to deal with the Estate of their late partner. (It's also worth noting that if the relationship was to end in divorce, both people would then have a legal obligation to fully disclose their finances during these proceedings.)
The best way to avoid any ambiguity or uncertainty for your partner after your death is to make a Will and then create an up to date list of your assets which can be stored alongside this. This list can be amended and updated as your assets change. This way, all of the information will be there, but this will only be made available to your loved ones in the event of your death.
In the list of your assets, you can provide comprehensive information on your financial assets and savings, including details such as account numbers and the name of the organisation or financial institution that holds the assets. By storing this information alongside your Will, when the time comes your loved ones will be able to easily locate and deal with all of your assets without having to carry out complex and lengthy searches.
For initial advice about making a Will call our Will writers on 03306069591 or contact us online and we will help you.