- Many couples avoid hard conversations about what will happen after they die
- Silence can lead to family disputes and high legal fees
- Have you shared the contents of your will with close family members? Take our survey below
Married people with a will are divided over whether to discuss inheritance decisions with family members or keep them in the dark, new research shows.
The vast majority of married couples have a will, but about 20 percent say they have not yet drawn up a will.
Of those who haven’t discussed who inherits what with children or other family members, 31 percent said they don’t need to be involved and 39 percent said it’s too early to share such details with them.
According to a survey by the financial services provider Wesleyan, around 19 percent find discussing an inheritance unpleasant.
Have you told your immediate family what is in your will? Take our survey below
The findings suggest that many couples are avoiding tough conversations about what will happen after their death and shifting responsibility to their children and larger families, creating the opportunity for arguments, the mutual said.
Couples could be setting up family problems for the future if they are not open about their inheritance plans, which could lead to arguments and expensive legal fees, Wesleyan adds.
> How to talk to your family about inheritance: Find ways to broach the topic below
Previous research has shown that inheritance disputes are on the rise, 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 to rising property prices.
Only 4 percent of estates are now subject to inheritance tax, but the number is rising due to frozen thresholds and the property price boom that is attracting more and more survivors into the net.
The Wesleyan study also found that 74 percent of married people have already agreed with their spouse who will inherit their money and property after both die.
Of those who have not yet decided, 40 percent have not talked about it, 25 percent are unsure and 11 percent plan to let their children deal with it after their death.
About 10 percent say it is difficult to have a conversation and 8 percent say they disagree. Wesleyan surveyed 2,000 married adults of all ages across the UK.
Linda Wallace, principal at Wesleyan, says, “There is no doubt that talking to children and families about what will happen after death can be uncomfortable and unsettling.”
“However, it is also true that open communication with your loved ones about this important issue can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved, both financially and emotionally.”
She adds: “If you cannot both agree on who should inherit your estate, this can have dire financial consequences from an inheritance tax perspective and lead to lengthy and costly delays in the probate process which are in no one’s best interests.”
‘Losing a loved one is one of the most painful things one can go through. Dealing with a person’s estate after their death can also be incredibly emotional, especially when it brings unexpected surprises and raises unanswered questions.”
How you approach the issue of inheritance together with your family
Linda Wallace, principal at Wesleyan, offers the following advice for anyone deciding how to pass on their assets after their death.
1. Set aside time with your family and friends to talk openly about your inheritance plans and how other people can make the most of the money or assets – such as a house – you plan to leave them.
Hearing about your loved ones’ ambitions for their life will help you decide how your estate plan can best benefit them.
For example, a cash lump sum could be used as a down payment on the purchase of a home, while a trust might make more sense for younger relatives.
2. Ask your beneficiaries if there is anything in your estate that they would like to inherit, such as an heirloom or an item to which they have a special sentimental attachment.
You can include this in your will. If this is not specified, there is a risk that someone else will snag it or that it will become a point of conflict – the last thing a group of family or friends needs.
3. Once you have a concrete estate plan in place, it may be a good idea to share it with your beneficiaries to explain to them what you have decided to do with your estate and why, so that they are not left with unanswered questions after you have left.
Uncertainty or misunderstandings can in turn lead to conflicts. In the worst case scenario, this conflict may need to be resolved with legal assistance – which can mean costs and additional emotional distress.
4. Make sure people know where all your important documents are kept, such as: B. Your will and details of bank accounts and investments so that you can take care of immediate practical matters such as paying bills or settling taxes.
5. Consider enlisting the assistance of a professional such as a lawyer or financial advisor. Not only are they able to assist with all the technical details surrounding wills, but they can also act as helpful mediators as they are experts at guiding emotional and difficult discussions to achieve the best outcome for what is being done You want to.