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Talking about dying and your will

Have you spoken to your partner about your will?

As part of the Free Wills Month campaign taking part during March, insurer Royal London has carried out research which found that a quarter of people with a will do not discuss their end of life finances.

The reason? They don’t want to think about dying. They certainly aren’t talking about dying.

Around the same number of people do not want to upset their children or grandchildren by talking about the terms of their will.

This reluctance to talk about death and dying is understandable, as it can be an uncomfortable and difficult subject.

This leads to ‘death anxiety’, which is the natural fear of talking about death and associated emotions.

But this death anxiety can hold us back from having the important conversations needed to ensure our beneficiaries are aware of and understand the terms of our wills.

The research found that nearly half of UK parents who have adult children prefer to keep the wishes expressed in their wills confidential, sharing only with their partners.

However, talking to adult children about the contents of your will can make it easier for them to plan for the financial and practical consequences of your death.

The death of a loved one often has huge financial implications, so early planning is advisable to reduce this impact.

Mona Patel, Royal London’s consumer spokesperson, said:

Talking about dying can be seen as ‘taboo’ and it is not always easy to bring it up. Discussing your will with beneficiaries means they are better prepared when the time comes. 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.

Free Wills Month is a new campaign bringing together a number of well-known charities to offer over-55s the opportunity to have a simple will written or updated free of charge, using one of a number of participating solicitors in England, Wales and Scotland.

The solicitor will help to draw up a will that accurately reflects the wishes of the individual or couple.

Those taking up the offer are under no obligation to leave a gift to one of the Free Wills Month charities, but it’s hoped that many will use it as an opportunity to leave money to their favourite cause.

The charities supporting Free Wills Month work for a variety of causes. Their vital services protect and enrich the lives of millions of people every day.

As part of the research promoting Free Wills Month, Royal London is sharing five top tips on how to approach this challenging conversation about wills with your partner or family.

They suggest you avoid talking to someone when they’re busy.

Instead, 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.

Royal London suggests you consider beginning the conversation with a question such as, “Have you ever wondered what would happen…?”; “Do you think we should talk about…?”.

You should also think about how you would manage financially should the worst happen.

What impact would losing a partner or family member have on your household income and your expenses? Be aware that your financial situation may change in the future.

It’s important to make sure you know where all important documents such as wills, bank details, insurance policies etc are kept so that you have all the information you might need.

Finally, you should prepare in advance; would you know how to manage the day-to-day finances? If not, consider how you could start to learn about them now so this doesn’t come as a shock.

Talking about dying is an important part of the financial planning process. Don’t put it off.

You can find out more about Free Wills Month at https://freewillsmonth.org.uk/

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