I have poor health
I want the reassurance that my family will be looked after
Issues & Concerns
When John and Sandra came to see us they were getting over the shock of John’s diagnosis. Four months previously he had been told that he had cancer and that he would die sooner rather than later. Their children were grown up and starting families of their own. They had a large family house and substantial investments and pension assets. This wasn’t the retirement they’d planned.
Being aware that he had made most of their financial decisions, John wanted to help make another one. He wanted to make sure that his wife was working with a firm of advisers that he felt comfortable with. He wasn’t dismissive of his wife’s abilities but he did admit to be a “bit of a control freak”! His wife was very happy for him to have this sense of focus.
We started by taking an inventory of all of their assets. We then started to discuss the options open to them both and to prioritise what was important. We put together a financial plan that looked at various scenarios and translated a complex financial situation into a series of easily understandable pictures. This demonstrated that they could sell the family home and relocate now to a smaller property, nearer to their children and grandchildren. This downsize would allow them to repay large amounts of their children’s mortgages and invest, via a trust, for their grandchildren.
John had already left work and so the priority was for them to have some holidays abroad whilst John was well enough. As his health deteriorated they would stay closer to home.
We restructured much of John’s eclectic mix of high risk investments into a medium risk, low cost, highly diversified portfolio that both John and Sandra felt comfortable with.
Knowing that John’s pension would be sold on his death and the value transferred to Sandra, as cash, we dramatically reduced the amount of stocks and shares he held. There was no point in risking the value of his pension at this stage.
When the sad news came through that John had died, the financial planning arrangements were already in place. Sandra was close to her family and had a good amount in cash so that she did not have to think about money or make any financial decisions before she was ready to do so. We helped with the administration and liaised with the executors of John’s Will. The grant of probate took over four months but as Sandra had plenty of cash, stress was kept to a minimum.
We see Sandra regularly for a full financial review and are in contact regularly by phone and email. We haven’t made any major changes to the arrangements we set up with them both but as time passes making future plans will become easier.
Sandra is coping well in these sad circumstances and is lucky to have her family nearby. Apparently her baby sitting skills are in constant demand!
By Simon Ainley, Chartered Financial Planner