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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Fisherman's Friend businesswoman leaves 41-million pound estate to charitable foundation

I recently read a story online about Doreen Lofthouse that I find interesting. Mrs. Lofthouse was the powerhouse who turned the Fisherman's Friend brand of cough drops into an incredibly successful business. The story I read talked about how she recently passed away leaving her personal estate of 41 million pounds (around $70 million Canadian dollars) mostly to charity. She carved off a piece for her staff members and the rest went to a charitable foundation she had set up.

Apparently the charitable foundation, which aimed to improve things in her home town of Lancashire, England, had been involved in a number of projects before Mrs. Lofthouse's death, such as a renovation to the local hospital. 

Mrs. Lofthouse left behind a son, Duncan, who did not receive anything under the will. However, Duncan runs the Fisherman's Friend company now and has for many years, so no doubt he is building up his own fortune and doesn't need anything from his mother.

I like the way Mrs. Lofthouse planned her estate. She set up a foundation during her lifetime and ensured that it was viable and that its goals were clear. She got to enjoy seeing her philanthropic endeavours at work while she was alive. She put people in place who understand the goals of the foundation and could work together.

This leaves no guesswork for executors. Once they wind up the estate (which of course means selling property, doing taxes, paying bills and all the rest of the usual tasks), they only have to write a cheque to the foundation. Mrs. Lofthouse didn't ask them to create the foundation or interpret her goals or find the people to run it. She did all the heavy lifting herself while she was alive, ensuring that things would run as planned after her death. All of the elements of her plans were designed to work together with her will.

Estate planning means more than just having a will made. Most of us will never have a fortune anything like what Mrs. Lofthouse had. But we do have life insurance policies and beneficiary designations and homes. Many of us want to make charitable donations of some or all of our estate. All of this has to work together. It may take a bit of work to get everything organized, but the end result will be that things will run so much more smoothly than if you just cobble things together with no planning.

To read more about Mrs. Lofthouse and her will, click here to see a story from the Daily Mail. 

Photo credit: News (UK) Ltd/Rex Features

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