Next in the crew tips series are a couple of legal items which most of you will have heard, some of you will have acted on one but very few will have both organised. I am not talking about staying on the right side of the law here, this is simply something that will make your life and in many cases your family’s life a lot easier.
I am talking about;
1. Power of Attorney.
2. Your Will.
Many of you will be reading this series of articles and thinking either “Yes, I feel pretty well set up. My tax, banking and general financial life are well organised. I am comfortable with my future planning and my level of financial security after yachts” If this is you I am really pleased to hear it. Chances are this isn’t you and you are thinking “I have no idea what some of the things this guy is talking about are. What am I supposed to do about all these things are where do I start?” In all honesty, you are in the majority. Get in touch and we can start from the beginning.
In reality, it doesn’t matter whether you fall into the first or second group, Power of Attorney and Wills tend to be things which are overlooked by a lot of Crew. If you are extremely well organised and have everything running smoothly there is a very good reason for setting up a Power of Attorney and a Will just in case the worst happens to you, or in a less extreme case you need to complete some paperwork back home urgently and are in the middle of the Atlantic for example. Many official documents still need an original signature. If you are in the less organised group a power of Attorney will be equally, if not more useful to you when getting all your other affairs in order.
Here is why; You work on a yacht which will of course have busy and quiet periods. You travel the world and spend prolonged periods of time at sea which, despite having access to phones and the internet you cannot always fulfil certain obligations such as signing documents. The documents you may be required to sign during your yachting life (which I guarantee will need to be done at the exact point in time when you are offshore) could be any or all of the following;
1. Tax return
2. Mortgage application
3. Property purchase/ sales contracts
4. Tenancy agreements
5. Insurance proposals.
6. A cheque or bank transfer.
This is when a Power of Attorney comes in very handy. In essence what this allows you to do is nominate someone close to you (normally a family member) to act, in good faith on your behalf. This means they can be your onshore representative whilst you are away and take care of all the potential problem areas mentioned above. You can read more about this here.
Next is your Will.
You have your finances in order, your investments are doing nicely. Your tax, banking, property portfolio, and all the financial side of life are great, your career is progressing nicely and you are all set up to be able to leave the industry in a few years time and enjoy life. What if the worst were to happen? Nobody likes to talk about it but sometimes tragedy strikes. Those of you who own property probably already have a Will in place as it may have been a requirement of your mortgage provider. However, a huge amount of Yacht crew do not have a will.
You have a good job and get paid well. A lot of you will have investments, property, cars, watches, jewellery etc. Most of you will be insured by the yacht you work on for liability and work related accidents and a great deal of you have recently taken out insurance with us. This is great that you know you are covered however, where does this insurance payout go? Does anyone other than you know you are insured? You see what I am getting at?
A Will, these days is a very simple thing to organise. It can be amended as your life progresses or changes but if you do not have one in place then it cannot be guaranteed that all the insurance, investments and things you have worked hard for will go to your family if something happens to you.
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