- Many couples avoid difficult conversations about what will happen after their death.
- Staying Silent Can Lead to Family Fights and Expensive Legal Fees
- Have you shared the contents of your will with close family members? Take our survey below
Married people with a will are evenly divided on whether to discuss inheritance decisions with family members or leave them in the dark, new research reveals.
The vast majority of married couples have a will, but about 20 percent say they have not yet written one.
Among those who have not discussed who inherits what with their children or other family members, 31 percent said they did not need to get involved and 39 percent said it was too early to share those details with them.
About 19 percent thought talking about inheritance would be uncomfortable, according to the survey by financial services provider Wesleyan.
Have you told your closest family what is in your will? Take our survey below
The findings suggest that many couples are avoiding difficult conversations about what will happen after their death, passing the responsibility to their children and wider families and creating the potential for arguments, according to the mutual.
Couples could be setting up family problems for the future by not being open about their inheritance plans, leading to disagreements and costly legal fees, Wesleyan adds.
> How to talk to your family about inheritance: Find ways to broach the topic below
Previous research has found that inheritance disputes are increasing, a trend that lawyers attribute to the complexities of modern family life (people are more likely to marry multiple times or live together without marrying) and rising property prices. the properties.
Meanwhile, only 4 percent of estates are subject to inheritance tax, but the number is rising due to frozen thresholds and booming property prices that are trapping more grieving people online.
The Wesleyan study also found that 74 percent of married people have already agreed with their spouse who should inherit their money and property after they both die.
Among those who haven’t decided, 40 percent have not yet discussed it, 25 percent are unsure, and 11 percent plan to let their children resolve the issue after they are gone.
About 10 percent say it’s a difficult conversation to have and 8 percent think they will disagree. Wesleyan surveyed 2,000 married adults of all ages across the United Kingdom.
Linda Wallace, principal at Wesleyan, says: “There is no doubt that talking to children and family about what will happen after death can be uncomfortable and upsetting.
“However, it is also true that communicating openly with your loved ones about this important topic can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved, both financially and emotionally.”
He adds: “If you both disagree about who should inherit your estate, this can have terrible financial results from an inheritance tax point of view, creating long and costly delays in the probate process that benefit no one.”
‘Losing a loved one is one of the most painful things anyone can go through. Dealing with that person’s estate after their departure can also be incredibly emotional, especially if it generates unexpected surprises and raises unanswered questions.’
How to approach the topic of inheritance with your family
Wesleyan Principal Linda Wallace offers the following advice to anyone deciding how to pass on their assets after their death.
1. Schedule time with your family and friends to talk candidly about your inheritance plans and how other people could make the most of any money or assets (like a house) you want to leave them.
Hearing about your loved ones’ ambitions for their lives can help you decide how your estate plan can best benefit them.
A lump sum of cash could be used as a deposit to buy a house, for example, while for younger relatives, a trust might be more appropriate.
2. Ask your beneficiaries if there is anything in your estate that they would like to inherit, such as a family heirloom or an object to which they have a particular sentimental attachment.
You can include this in your will. If this is not specified, there is a risk of it being taken advantage of by someone else or becoming a point of conflict – the last thing a group of family or friends needs.
3. Once you have a firm estate plan, it may be a good idea to share it with your beneficiaries, explaining to them what you have decided to do with your estate and why, so they are not left with unanswered questions later. Have you gone.
Uncertainty or misunderstandings can lead to conflicts again. In the worst case scenario, this conflict may need to be resolved with legal support, which can mean additional costs and emotional strain.
4. Make sure people know where all your important documents are kept, such as your will and details of any bank accounts and investments, so they can deal with immediate practicalities, such as paying bills or settling taxes.
5. Consider seeking support from a professional such as a lawyer or financial advisor. As well as being able to help with any technical details relating to wills, they can also be helpful intermediaries as they are experts at helping guide what can be emotional and difficult discussions to achieve the best outcome for what you want.