3 distinguished lessons Bridgerton could teach you about estate planning

21 June 2024

Bridgerton, the hit show from Netflix based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn, is centred around an elite family – the Bridgertons – living in Regency London (or at least a fantasy version of it).

On the surface, Bridgerton is all about each of the family’s children finding true love and marrying.

But at its core, the show documents the twists and turns of family politics. It tells the tale of wealthy, complex families, where the parents have their own goals in mind for their children’s futures.

When it comes to your own family, you might already be thinking about estate planning. That is, who should inherit your estate when you pass away, and how you wish for it to be distributed.

There are plenty of lessons that you could learn from Bridgerton, so keep reading to find out what this programme could teach you about setting up an estate plan for your family’s future.

1. Remember to prepare for the unexpected

In Season 2 of Bridgerton, viewers were shocked to witness a flashback scene that depicted the tragic, untimely death of the family’s father, Lord Edmund Bridgerton.

In his prime and the father of eight young children, Edmund is stung by a bee while relaxing in his garden with his son, Anthony. Little did he know that the bee sting would send him into anaphylactic shock, and without immediate medical attention he passes away almost instantly, leaving his family bewildered at what to do next.

Even with the benefits of today’s modern medicine, it is always prudent to be prepared for the unexpected. So, ask yourself:

If your answers to these questions have revealed any gaps in your estate plan, don’t panic. As financial planners, we can help you ensure that you’re financially prepared for an unexpected illness or death of either you or a loved one.

While these circumstances are unthinkable, taking the time to form an estate plan that protects your wealth while supporting your family through a difficult time, could bring everyone valuable peace of mind.

2. Ensure your inheritance plans line up with your wealth circumstances

Living opposite the Bridgertons, there is another family whose circumstances are rather different: the Featheringtons.

Unlike the Bridgerton family, the Featheringtons are financially unable to provide for their children – all daughters – for the rest of their days.

In the show, the girls’ mother, Portia Featherington, sets out on a mission to ensure her daughters are married to rich men, fearing that her family will not have enough to support them if they remain unmarried.

While society has changed a great deal since the Regency period, there is still a lesson to be learned from the Featheringtons’ storyline: If you wish to leave an inheritance, it’s important to factor your financial stability into your wealth plans.

For instance, if you are approaching retirement, consider the fact that the cost of living has risen substantially in recent years.

According to the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), the cost of a comfortable retirement has risen to £59,000 a year (for a couple). This means that a 30-year retirement could cost you and your spouse almost £1.8 million, not accounting for inflation or care fees.

As such, it is crucial to work out:

Overestimating how much you can leave behind might lead to disappointment and confusion for your family later on.

If you’re unsure where to begin when calculating your children’s potential inheritance, we can help.

While the Featheringtons may not have benefited from bespoke financial planning, we’ll work with your family to ensure everyone is on the same page.

3. Put everything in writing for your loved ones

Underpinning all the action in Bridgerton is a daily gossip column, written by an anonymous figure who calls herself Lady Whistledown.

Circulating all the latest scandalous developments in London, Lady Whistledown is a central figure to the story. Her writing cements everyone’s suspicions about the town’s latest news and sets the wheels in motion for further action to unfold.

Writing down what is important to you is essential. And, much more important than the latest local gossip, is your intention for who should inherit your estate when you pass away.

Of course, a will is perhaps the most critical document to draw up. A legally binding document, your will dictates who should inherit each of your assets upon your death. Having your will witnessed by a legal professional could ensure its legitimacy and give you immense peace of mind.

In addition to your will, you could choose to write a letter of wishes that accompanies the document. These are not legally binding, but could offer further explanation about your choices and make sure your family fully understands your intentions.

As Bridgerton may remind you, writing down your estate plan in the form of these key documents may ensure that no misunderstandings occur, and that your last wishes come to fruition as planned.

Get in touch

If you need guidance on leaving a Bridgerton-worthy legacy for your family, email info@depledgeswm.com or call 0161 8080200.

Please note

This article is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax advice, will writing or estate planning.

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