Modest deputy headteacher left legacies
We'd all like to think that when we die, those we leave behind will remember us fondly. This is certainly the case of retired deputy headteacher Tony Wheeler, who died from pancreatic cancer in June 2012, aged 84.
It wasn't until Mr Wheeler's death that the townspeople in his home of Sudbury, realised that in actual fact, he had been a multi millionaire and had left an estate worth around £3 million.
The late Mr Wheeler had never married and had no close surviving relatives. This may have been the reason why he decided to leave almost half of his entire inheritance to a number of local organisations including giving £215,000 to the town's church and £200,000 to Suffolk Wildlife Trust. In all, 16 local and national charities have benefited from Mr Wheeler's kind generosity.
In return, Sudbury's United Reformed Church has ensured that its spire is illuminated, in honour of its benefactor, who used to enjoy seeing it from his bedroom window.
It is unclear how the gentleman managed to amass such a fortune. Indeed, a quote from the church secretary indicated that it may well have been that Mr Wheeler may himself not have known precisely how much money he had saved. However, having no family and living modestly, saving his earnings from his job as deputy headteacher of Royal Worcester Grammar School as well as investing wisely seems to have transformed this modest man into a multi millionaire – a transformation which has had a direct impact on so many worthwhile organisations.
Who will inherit your money?
Vanessa Feltz kick started an interesting conversation in the newspaper the other day, when she asked: "Who will inherit your money?"
The question was prompted by recent comments from well known individuals including millionaire businessman John Roberts, Sean Connery and Nigella Lawson – all of whom declared that they wouldn't be leaving their children any money.
I see their point. The hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds left behind by these individuals could cause more harm than good.
Even leaving aside the large amount which would inevitably be paid to the tax man in the form of inheritance tax, a significant windfall has been known to lead to a short-lived lifestyle of excess in the form of holidays, cars and fine dining. Before the beneficiaries know it, the money's gone and they have very little to show for it. Hardly a fitting legacy for someone who worked hard for their money during their lifetime.
With the latest government inheritance tax initiative, more and more legacies are being made to charities, which is great news for worthwhile causes. However, for those of us who can't afford to live a millionaire lifestyle, shouldn't we aim to help our loved ones financially after we've gone, if we're in the position to do so? Even a few thousand pounds may perhaps help to dig them out of debt, help them to fund the grandchildren's university education or simply give them some breathing space.
So who will inherit your money? Your children, grandchildren or a charity? Perhaps you may be saving it to fund your retirement or care, should you need it in the future? You should be starting to plan, now.
We’ve all heard of charitable legacies, and how the government has introduced financial benefits to those who leave a portion of their estate to charity. However, it seems that many of us are choosing instead to leave our money to hospitals.
Never heard of leaving legacies to hospitals? Recent news revealed that Welsh hospitals in particular, have been left almost £9m in legacies, over the last three years.
The hospitals directly benefit from additional funding which is not met by the NHS.
A spokesperson for one campaign fund stated that the money can go towards providing additional research into specific diseases or conditions, life saving equipment or additional training. Alternatively, it can also be spent on other useful resources such as providing or furnishing relatives’ rooms and waiting areas.
If you’re thinking of leaving a legacy to a hospital, notify your will writer who will be able to advise you of the details and benefits.