There are three words guaranteed to arouse fear and trepidation in most of us: ‘After I die…’
We neither want to hear or say them. That’s why more than six million adults in the UK refuse to discuss their Will with loved ones .
Why the deathly silence?
Talking about what will happen after we die is not an easy subject to bring up.
A quarter of people with a Will say the reason why they refuse to talk about it is:
- They don’t want to think about dying
- They don’t want to upset beneficiaries by discussing the contents .
It’s not only parents who are uncomfortable. Adult children are often nervous about raising the topic of their likely future inheritance for fear of appearing greedy or nosey.
But, the truth of the matter is, this awkward conversation needs to be had. The fact is, we are all going to die. There’s no avoiding it. By overcoming ‘death anxiety’ – the natural fear of talking about dying and the emotions associated with it – you can ensure your beneficiaries are aware of your wishes and understand them, and that can only be a good thing.
Where there’s a Will…
Drawing up a Will is very important if you care what happens to your loved ones, your money and your belongings after you die, and most of us do.
Sharing the contents of a Will makes the financial and practical consequences of death easier for those left behind. Losing someone can have a huge impact on finances for months or even years to come, so it is crucial for families to be prepared.
It is also hugely important for family members to be aware of vital decisions in your Will, such as who will look after your children.
It’s good to talk
Being open about your plans for your Will should avoid any confusion or resentment when you’re no longer around. It’s your chance to explain what you’re doing and why, as well as give loved ones the opportunity to ask questions or raise any concerns.
Nobody enjoys talking about death. Here’s a few tips on how to make the ‘When I’m gone…’ conversation a little less fraught.
- Let your family know in advance that you’d like to discuss your Will with them. It will come as less of a shock.
- Try and ascertain if they’d prefer to chat at a family gathering or individually. Make it clear it doesn’t need to be a sombre occasion.
- Be prepared. The conversation will go more smoothly if you have your Will, or a basic draft, to hand. That way you can talk about what you want, rather than everyone telling you what they want.
- Avoid talking to someone when they’re busy. Look for opportunities to broach the subject, such as when you’re discussing the future or perhaps following the death of someone close to you.
- Consider beginning the conversation with a question such as: ‘Have you ever wondered what would happen if…?’ or ‘Do you think we should talk about…?’
- Explain that there are reasons for the legacies you plan to leave. This will help family members to understand your wishes and prevent any future misunderstanding.
- Encourage your loved ones to be open and forthcoming. They may have specific expectations. Don’t shy away from discussing these. They might, for example, feel very strongly about a certain sentimental object. It is important that you are made aware, even if the decision about what happens to it is yours in the end.
- Make sure you – and they – know where all important documents such as the Will, bank details, insurance policies, etc. are kept.
Best Laid Plans
Of course, not everything always goes to plan. Life has a habit of throwing curve balls and circumstances might change between ‘the talk’ and the end of your life.
Financial affairs, new additions, losing loved ones, even family fallouts can dramatically change future dynamics. You can – and should – change your Will to best meet your individual needs.
If you would like to review your situation or have not yet drawn up a Will, contact us today to arrange an appointment.
It’s far easier to make a Will than many people imagine, and it will undoubtedly save your family unnecessary distress at an already difficult time.
If you don’t have one, everything you own will be shared out in a standard way defined by the law – which isn’t always the way you might want.
We would be pleased to discuss all your options with you. Get in touch to find out how we can help.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate wills
 Royal London survey 2018