I have no wish to stray into political territory in this blog post – partly because it is never a good idea and partly because it seems like our political landscape is changing day by day at the moment – but I was inspired by current events to say something about the art of decision making. Or, as we are seeing in Westminster, the lack thereof.
Whatever your political persuasion, indeed whatever your stance on Brexit, I think we can all agree that our Parliamentarians are not covering themselves in glory at the moment with their inability to reach consensus and move ahead, whatever that may involve.
Decision making is important day to day but certain legal events make it more important than you might imagine.
To pick a few examples:
- If something were to happen to you meaning that you were not mentally capable of making decisions for yourself – dementia, for example, or being in a coma following a car accident – who would make decisions for you? Have you made a Lasting Power of Attorney to make sure that someone can still pay your bills, sort your house out and ensure you are living somewhere comfortable?
- If you have a falling out with your fellow directors or shareholders in your business, how will this be resolved? Do you have something in place, such as a Shareholder Agreement, to regulate this position before you get the lawyers involved and irretrievably lose your business relationship?
- If your marriage breaks down and you see no way back, are you happy to put everything in the hands of lawyers and the court, at huge expense, and hope for the best? Have you considered planning in advance with a nuptial agreement to help to ensure that – as unromantic as it may be – if the worst happens you have something on which to base the financial side of your separation?
- When making gifts into trust, have you thought carefully about who will be controlling that trust and making decisions for your family wealth in the future? Should you be revising your thinking about choice of trustees, or your letter of wishes guiding them?
- Are the executors and Guardians of your children in your will still the right people? They will be making decisions about your lifetime of accumulated wealth and the wellbeing of your children. Do you need to revisit this?
In every scenario above, decision making is key – both decisions you make yourself and decisions you entrust to other people.
Think about this carefully and ensure that not only have you made good decisions but that you have picked the right people to make decisions in your place – people who will act in the best interests of you and your family and will get on with the task in hand!