Your Assets in Your Will

There’s a certain inherent peacocking to authorship. It’s like The Sermon on the Mount.  Writers want their work read. They want to know there’s an audience. The publisher’s royalty statements tell their story. These royalty statements nourish venality. But that’s a small part of the story.

There’s another story. Intellectual vanity craves feedback. The comments, the questions, the engagement.

That’s one reason a certain class of author attends book fairs, literary festivals and publication signings.


Now, mine’s not that manner of book. I am not that sort of writer. My musings are not of such genre. Yet still, reader response is to me a prize beyond gold. I’m put in mind of the Irish wit, one of who’s many epigrams elaborates on what is immeasurably worse than the horror of being talked about.

In chapter 10 of my book Maximum Inheritance,  in a section I titled Giving It Up, I outlined the viatical settlement – selling one’s life assurance policy.

It was thus no small delight to me when the other day I received this missive:

Morning Ade,
Please see attached. What has confused me is the idea that you can sell a whole-of -life assurance plan?

Thanks, Colin.

Oh yes, you can.

A life assurance policy is an obligation on the life insurer to pay an agreed sum should certain conditions be met. Money changes hands, thus a contract is formed.

Up and down the land, there are folk like you and me – in their thousands of tens – who’ve paid inheritance tax (often with no good cause) on the proceeds of life insurance policies.

Your assets are all you ownIf something is paid for, if something can be taxed, if something can be assigned – the older of us would remember the days when mortgage issuers as a matter of common practice encouraged, ahem,  their borrowers to assign their life policies to them, the lender – it possesses the inherent characteristics of the property.

Thus, it can be sold.

The tacit part of Colin’s question concerns size and nature of the secondary market – that’s a story for another day. For now, dear Colin, I trust your confusion has gone the way of last winter’s snow.

Oh, dear reader, feed my vanity.