The most loving thing you can do is prepare for the worst - regardless of your financial situation
The recent death of millionaire philanthropist Nigel Doughty is a stark reminder to us all about the importance of getting your affairs in order. Whilst many of us avoid writing wills for fear it is “planning for our death”, Doughty’s story is affirmation that the most loving thing you can do to protect your family.
Nigel Doughty was a businessman through and through. As a founding member of the management buy out unit of Standard Chartered Bank, he went on to form a private equity joint venture, CWB partners, comprising Standard Chartered and Westdeutsche Landesbank. Later, he established Doughty Hansen & Co as an independent firm in 1995 and would later provide financial backing for Nottingham Forest Football Club.
He was also a philanthropist, setting up the Doughty Hansen Charitable Foundation, supporting more than 20 charities including the Cranfield School of Management’s Centre for Corporate Responsibility. Doughty also donated £3.5m to Labour over the past seven years, leading its Small Business Taskforce and serving as an assistant treasurer since 2009.
When Doughty unexpectedly passed away at age 54 on 4th February 2020, his net worth of £130m made him the 537th wealthiest person in Britain. His wife, Lucy Vasquez, was later interviewed by the Times and stated that without Doughty’s careful planning in the event of his death, she and her family may have been left without financial support. Luckily, it seemed that Doughty was a careful planner by nature - to the extreme where Vasquez said that Doughty was so worried about them all dying at the same time that he would take a separate plane whenever they traveled anywhere. In comparison, drafting a will was pretty much second nature and it would never have occurred to Doughty not to have one.
However, even without his extremely high net worth, Doughty’s personal circumstances meant that his family were well cared for. Vasquez was Doughty’s second wife, with whom he had two sons, but he also had one son and one daughter from his previous marriage. More often than not, complications will arise with probate where there is more than one family involved. Particularly, as children from previous marriages fear that biological children from new marriages may be looked after first - or be looked upon more favourably. What’s more, an estate could pass to a new spouse before any children can inherit - leaving some children, or step children, in fear of losing out on their “fair share”.
As a professional solicitor working with wills and probate, many people tell me that relatives who pass away with no will tell me the main reason was due to being too young, or not having anything of significant value to pass on. However, any financial foresight means that any grieving relatives are not also dealing with extra money worries.
If you would like some help and advice in relation to your will, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.