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CHAPTER 9


One way to free up money is to release equity through downsizing. Another is to take out an equity release product, which is, effectively, taking out a mortgage on the property, to be repaid after death and the sale of the property. This, however, needs careful consideration and specialist financial advice as it can be a complicated process that considers a range of factors, including how long the product will be required for. Of course, one of the most important questions to ask is whether you feel safe enough to start giving away your assets. We all know what happened to Shakespeare’s King Lear when he gave everything away in the expectation that his daughters would care for him. His mistake was to leave himself totally dependent on his daughters. The pitfalls of trusting a surviving relative to carry out our verbal wishes is also well illustrated in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. John Dashwood promises his dying father that he will provide for his step- mother and half sisters. However, this promise dwindles from a substantial gift to merely paying for their removal expenses.


Many parents (often wrongly) remain


convinced that their children would prefer the family home not to be sold.


To get round this rather delicate problem, many young people receive bequests, which are financial gifts bestowed after someone passes away, not before. While sensible, there are drawbacks in arranging a legacy in this way. For a start, its enjoyment may be tempered by grief for a lost loved one, while the loved one herself misses out on the pleasure her gift would undoubtedly have brought, if only she’d been alive to see it for herself. There are also potential legal hurdles of probate, as well as the lengthy and often painful process of clearing and selling a perhaps much-loved family home. In addition, the legacy, when it does finally arrive, may be too late to ease a particular financial burden when a few years earlier it would have been heartily welcomed.


Many parents (often wrongly) remain convinced that their children would prefer the family home not to be sold -- but the subjects of death and money are so seldom discussed that true wishes, doubts and fears remain unexpressed. It’s certainly true that we will all face many challenges as we age, from running a car to managing the garden, or feeling


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