As one generation reaches the end of their allotted time I see an unseemly rush to put affairs in order. Knowing what is needed comes through experience, but can be learnt, and if fate is kind the family will have everything in place – not for some fiendishly clever tax planning scheme, but to just to avoid some of the painful and unnecessary bureaucracy that can be easily avoided.

More profoundly, I’m struck by the huge effort that went in to creating the current state of affairs. Managing ‘life’ is not easy at the best of times but when that involves nearly 100 institutions – each with their passwords and security protocols, the challenge is enormous.

This didn’t happen by design, it was an evolutionary process driven by fads, fear, emerging technology and, to some extent foolishness – egged on by a lack of understanding of the bigger picture and the absence of a plan.

On a positive note over the last few months the family has managed to unwind the worst of these excesses, but the question remains – Why? The evolving situation has brought much angst and little joy over the last few years. The institutions involved all struggle to deal with written communication while still managing to charge handsomely for their lack of service. Together with the tax man they will help themselves to nearly half the estate.

If you are fortunate and have assets to manage – then do just that, and put them to work – really hard!