Over six million adults refuse to discuss their will with loved ones, according to research from Royal London.
The research also found that 26% of people with a will, don’t want to talk about it, because they don’t want to think about dying, while 27% don’t want to upset beneficiaries by discussing the contents of their will.
Mona Patel, Royal London’s consumer spokesperson, said although people may have a natural fear of talking about death and the emotions associated with it, it is important that they have this conversations to ensure their beneficiaries are aware of their wishes and understand them.
She added: “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.”
Interestingly, the analysis also found that 45% of UK parents with adult children believe their will to be ‘no one’s business’ but their own or a partners.
James Wyman, a financial adviser at Lyndhurst Financial Management, said people are often reluctant to talk about their will if their estate is worth a large amount.
He added: “ I find that the number of people who are willing to discuss their Will with the family can reduce when there are large sums of money involved. There is an assumption that by knowing what assets will be passed down, children might decide to give up work or change their lifestyle and become lazy.
“There is also the fact that some would like to leave the majority of their wealth to a good cause – leaving a smaller inheritance for their children or grandchildren. This could cause resentment if the beneficiaries know the division of the will before death.
“I understand the view that money can be corrupting, however, I encourage my clients to discuss inheritance openly with their beneficiaries to ensure that the funds are used as intended – for example, paying for their grandchildren’s university fees.
“Whilst death can be a sore subject to discuss, the fact of the matter is that inheritance tax is the only tax which people choose to pay. Once clients understand there are measures they can take to maintain their current standard of living whilst ensuring the maximum is left to their beneficiaries, they become open to the discussion.”
This research from Royal London coincides with ‘Free Wills Month’ launched at the beginning of March.
‘Free Wills Month’ brings together a group of well-respected charities to offer members of the public aged 55 and over the opportunity to have their simple wills written or updated free of charge by using participating solicitors in selected locations across the UK.
Aamina Zafar is one of the UK’s leading financial journalists. She has previously worked as a senior reporter at FT’s Financial Adviser. The award-winning journalist writes regularly on the IFA community, mortgages, pensions and financial regulation.
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