Do Not Assume

I have recently been mulling over the issue of assumption.

Some of us will know the phrase “Don’t assume, it makes an ass of you and me”. If you do not, say the phrase out loud – it works much better that way than on the page.

Anyway, the point is, it is very easy to take things for granted or just assume and this can lead to misconceptions.

Within the last hour, I have heard a friend referring to a conversation on the phone with a purportedly elderly gentleman. They felt his use of the expression “OMG” during the conversation did not ring quite right. They considered that a septuagenarian would not use that phrase. Given the circumstances surrounding the call, they are probably right to make some further enquiries. However, do not assume this ugly acronym, beloved of tweeps and (dread word) the youth, is that novel.


Some research suggests that the first recorded use of “OMG” was in a 1917 letter from Admiral Lord Fisher to Winston Churchill (then First Lord of the Admiralty). The context was despair on Lord Fisher’s part that the Royal Navy may not be able to stop the German fleet assisting in the landing of troops in the Baltic. “Are we really incapable of a big Enterprise....” Fisher wrote. He continued “… I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis – OMG (Oh! My God!) – Shower it on the Admiralty!!”.

So there is nothing new under the sun.

Similarly do not assume that, if you do not have Wills, and you are a married couple, everything will pass to the survivor on the first of your deaths. It may do, but, by the same token, it may not. It depends on how you hold your assets. For example, much jointly owned property should pass to a surviving co-owner - but not all. It also depends greatly on the value of your estate. If you have children and your free estate is greater than £250,000 in value it will not. I have recently had a conversation with someone where it looks as though assets of significant value may not be passing to him as he had expected they would as a surviving spouse. What a situation to find yourself in.

So, the message of the hour is: Do not take unnecessary risks. Do not assume. Check and take advice. Make a Will.

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