A recent poll has highlighted an issue Bartletts Solicitors has been aware of for some time – that many people in the UK have not written a will and have not discussed dying and end of life wishes.
A lot of people still feel uncomfortable discussing dying and death with loved ones to the point that they’ve not made a will, as this survey has shown, even though it’s so important to plan for your end of life wishes.
Carried out for the Dying Matters Coalition care organisations, the survey of 2,000 adults reveals only a third have written a will and just 21 percent of individuals have discussed their wishes upon their death.
Sadly, death is the one thing we can all be certain of, and to avoid talking about it and not taking action to plan for it often leads to heartache and difficulties for loved ones left behind.
If you die without a will, your estate passes to relatives in accordance with the rules of intestacy which may not be according to your wishes. This means that potentially many people are likely to inherit very little or nothing at all – even those closest to the deceased. If you’re not married, for example, and haven’t made a will then your partner won’t automatically inherit.
As wills and probate solicitors, we have experience of dealing with the sad and stressful consequences of people not having a will written in their lifetime.
It also saves a great deal of difficulty when individuals talk openly with their family and friends about their end of life wishes.
The poll highlighted the extent to which talking about death is off-limits for so many – 80 percent feel discussing death and dying makes people uncomfortable. Just 29 percent of those asked said they’d let loved ones know of their funeral wishes, with 51 percent saying they’d not made their partner aware of their end of life wishes.
A separate survey of 1,000 family doctors found that 25 percent of GPs hadn’t initiated conversations with patients about their end of life wishes, although the overall number of doctors who do is on the rise.
The importance of discussing dying and making plans for when you die really cannot be overestimated.
Plans, together with a professionally drawn-up will, enable loved ones to fulfil your wishes when you die, and enable you to look after loved ones in the way you want to.
If you haven’t planned for your end of life wishes already then today is the day to do so. By letting loved ones know what you’d like to be done after you’ve gone, including funeral plans and how your estate is to be divided, you reduce the stress at an already upsetting time – and ensure those you care for most are protected long after you’ve gone.
To speak to one of our specialist wills and probate experts today about your personal situation, call us on Freephone 0800 988 3674 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org