This article first appeared on Lifestyle Daily
Three businessmen who met while playing table football competitively have set up a firm to help protect our loved ones after we are gone.
Richard Thomson, Ben Mason and Tom King have combined their skills to create end-of-life planning firm kinherit – to ensure final wishes are carried out.
The team offers complex trust and will-writing services, coordinated handovers after the death of their client and a secure online vault to account for assets.
Ben, who has worked in financial services and estate planning for over a decade and came 7th at the table football European Championship in doubles, said: “The last thing someone needs after the death of a loved one is to be worrying about finances.
“We help ensure the right money goes to the right people and quickly. We also have processes in place to help keep the money with those whom it was intended for.”
Kinherit help their client’s loved ones avoid unnecessary stress, red tape and expense when they die - giving peace of mind in a way a will alone cannot.
Controlling where the money goes
Ben, 37, said they create asset protection trusts for customers, which help protect against the loss of inheritance following events such as marriage after a death and divorce.
The team also has a secure online vault and robust system to pass on information to the executor – so assets are not lost behind computer passwords or misplaced paperwork.
The dad-of-one said: “When I die, I want to know that my little girl is taken care of - regardless of whether my wife remarries, or if my own daughter divorces later in life, or my computer melts down.”
Oxford University graduates Richard and Tom, and financial advisor Ben, combine their experience in finance, estate planning and technology to offer a well-rounded service.
The growing team has already saved customers hundreds of thousands of pounds on inheritance tax and probate - the process of dealing with the property, money and possessions of a person who has died.
Kinherit’s youngest client is 24 and eldest 83 - with assets ranging from less than £100,000 to over ten million.
But they all have one thing in common – they want to protect their loved ones after they have gone.
Ben said: “If you died today, do people know what assets you have? Often the answer is no and this can lead to stress, expense and family fallouts at an already difficult time.”
Unclaimed inheritance runs into billions
According to government figures, the value of unclaimed estates in the UK could run into the billions.
With this in mind, the team at kinherit has designed an online vault, to store anything from bank to jewellery details.
This system helps make the probate process quicker and cheaper. Users are regularly reminded to update their details.
Richard, who has worked in finance for over 20 years, including as a company advisor and investor, said: “In an increasingly online age, it is inevitable families will lose out simply because there is no way to reliably track down bank accounts or policies their loved ones had.”
Richard, who was chairman of the British Foosball Association for seven years, believes relying on paperwork alone is not suitable for the 21st century.
There has also been an increase of wills being contested in recent years, which in itself can be a costly affair.
Kinherit want to make their client’s final wishes more readily available and easier to prove.
Tom, 41, who has worked as a web developer and programmer at Oxford University, has created a system where asset information can be stored securely and passed to the executors when the time comes.
He has used the secure and established platform, Amazon Web Services, of which NASA is a client.
He said: “When choosing a platform to build our infrastructure on, I was looking at not just the best set of tools for today, but something which would provide long term service. We need to be able to hold data for our clients for a long time.”
Personal and professional experience
The founders have personal and professional experience of a family member dying and, even with a will in place, the process has been slow, painful and unnecessarily costly.
Ben has been working to protect families for 12 years, helping to ensure the right money is in the right hands at the right time.
He has dealt with people crying on the phone after a partner died – fearing they would also lose their home.
Ben said: “People sometimes receive dangerous advice from well-meaning friends or poorly informed so-called professionals.
“End of life planning can feel daunting and if people are not fully or correctly informed, it can lead to unfortunate consequences when they die.
“We want to make the process as easy, accessible and transparent as possible. We help people work through their options and possible outcomes to better protect their loved ones.”
The team at kinherit believe that a robust and secure system to hand over relevant information to the right people at the right time will help clamp down on unfair practices.
They can carry out a hand over and support the executor and other defined roles (such as trustees).
Richard’s parents were updating their own will and he decided to put them in touch with Ben. His conversation with Ben also led him to discover he could save his own children from a hefty inheritance tax bill.
Richard said: “Ben did what no lawyer had previously done for us. He explained how a will and asset protection trust can work brilliantly to protect my family in a way a standalone will could not. I thought this enhanced product should be available to a wide range of people.
“Despite working in finance, I was in the dark over the potential for trusts and I thought the general public would be too. The lack of awareness can lead to unnecessary expense and upset when a loved one dies.”
Richard also realised the potential to go beyond a will and asset protection trust. His mother and uncle have ‘death files’ paperwork prepared.
He said: “This seems like a hit and miss and ‘pre-internet’ way to manage such an important handover.”
Richard recognised a whole end of life plan fit for the 21st century could give people the peace of mind they desired.
Tom’s own dad, who had worked as a housing, will and probate solicitor, died after a short illness. He had the time and legal know-how to prepare his estate for his surviving family.
But some paperwork was still not clearly accounted for and it was only by chance that Tom’s mum found a life insurance policy worth £30,000.
This experience, and a desire to protect his own foster child, led Tom to become aware of the need for complex Trusts and a system to protect digital assets.
Tom said: “My dad loved his family and was conscientious. But he had an old fashioned view of paperwork, whereas today we tend to deal with many matters electronically.
“We are passionate about providing a peace of mind product suitable for the 21st century. I think my dad would be proud of our work.”