Last year it was revealed that six in ten UK parents (59%) either do not have a will at all or their existing one is not up-to-date. Furthermore, a quarter of those have no intention of making one. These are surprising statistics – especially given the ease with which people can access information and guidance nowadays. But perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised…
Whilst many things in life previously regarded as a ‘taboo’ are now widely and openly discussed, death continues to be an extremely uncomfortable topic for many. Society continues to change at pace, but fundamental existential concerns remain. The very act of writing a will is an acknowledgement of our own mortality. Furthermore, with the fast pace of modern life, it is difficult enough to remember to update an existing will – let alone write a new one from scratch.
But the reality is that we are all going to die. So surely making a little advance preparation just makes sense – if only for your own peace of mind? The research shows that there is more to this apparent reluctance than meets the eye.
According to the survey, conducted by insurance group Royal London, a staggering 5.4 million adults without a will would not know how to start if they were to write one. The very nature of this uncertainty is that it breeds further reluctance – even fear – when considering the topic. The result? People avoid broaching the subject, or simply ‘put it off’ until a later date.
But it is also clear that many people are unaware of the potential consequences of not having an accurate will.
Not having an up-to-date will can be extremely problematic, should the worst happen. The result can add further stress and complication for family and friends at an already difficult time.
There are many reasons to ensure your will is updated regularly – including the following points:
So, how can you overcome your reticence to write or update your will? The answer lies in communication and being open to help.
Have an informal chat with your relative or loved one about the topic. Approach the subject casually, avoid morbid language and instead speak with gentle, disarming honesty.
Explain some of the risks associated with either not having a will or having an outdated will, and relate this back to your current situation. This can help to spark a more involved and serious conversation.
After an initial conversation, set a date in the diary to have your wills completed by – and stick to it! Hold each other to account.
Don’t go it alone when writing your will. You need to get professional help to make sure your will is watertight, and has considered all of your needs. Furthermore, the involvement of a third party can help you to make sure it gets done!
At A M Davies, we offer a gentle and understanding approach. We understand why people are often reluctant to discuss will writing, and offer relaxed, informal meetings – whether that’s at your home or in our offices.
We can help you to understand the future implications of your will and will offer you the guidance you may need should your circumstances change in the future. Our fees are transparent, and we don’t charge until you engage our services!