Research carried out by Direct Line Group has found that 25% of people who are married or co-habiting don’t know where their partner’s money is.
This could cause problems in the event that someone dies. If the extent and whereabouts of their assets isn’t known, the administration of their estate could be delayed for a long period of time while searches and enquiries are made. In the worst case scenario, money could simply be lost.
32% of those questioned did not have any details of their partner’s workplace pension and 28% had not shared details of their savings account.
Women share fewer details than men and were found to be five times more likely to keep secret savings.
A study by GoCompare found that on average secret savings amounted to just over £10,000, with a fifth having more than £25,000.
What happens when details of assets aren’t shared
An estimated £2 billion exists in unclaimed bank accounts, with many billions more believed to be in lost pensions, life assurance policies and other investments such as shares.
If assets can’t easily be located after death, there is a risk they will be lost. Executors will need to conduct searches to try and locate what they can, but unless there is a clear list of all holdings, some may well be missed.
How to ensure assets can be located after death
If you don’t want to give your partner details of your financial affairs you can draw up a list of your assets to be placed with your Will and stored by your solicitor at their offices.
This should include the names and account numbers of your holdings and you should aim to regularly update the list.
If you have bank or building society accounts that aren’t used, then remember to check them from time to time. Banks may archive the account after a number of years if you don’t respond to enquiries by them and an unattended account may fall prey to hackers.
As banks and building societies merge or are taken over, it is easy for accounts to be forgotten. Old pension accounts can also be overlooked as people move on to new jobs.
Make an inventory of your financial affairs and ensure that you are in control of your money and aware of its location.
Check that your Will is up to date and reflects your wishes. Let those close to you know where your Will is stored or keep a letter from your solicitor confirming that they have the Will with your personal papers.
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