The Grand Total: Your Net Worth

Once you have worked out the value of your home, shares, savings, pension, life insurance, jewellery, furniture, electrical goods, art, car, and other personal effects and everything else that is relevant it will probably be time for a good lie down, what with all those figures swimming around your head! After you have rested, list the value of each asset on a page of a notebook and on the opposite page list any money that is owed against that asset. If your house is valued at £180,000 but you owe the mortgage company £100,000, your house is worth £80,000 to your estate.

Tot everything up and you will come to a dead reckoning of what your estate is worth today. You now have a sound basis for deciding what to leave to your relatives and friends.

If you'd rather someone else did all the number crunching, you can pay an independent financial adviser or accountant to value your estate. However, you'll still have to do some of the legwork, such as digging out relevant paperwork.

The Grand Total: Your Net Worth

Don't forget to factor in the costs of your funeral into the final calculation of your net worth. Funeral costs are taken out of your estate. Even a standard burial can cost several thousand pounds these days and is a major expense. See Chapter 10 for more details.

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