Will and probate news: March 2011
BRITONS TOO EMBARRASSED TO ASK ABOUT PARENTS FINANCES
05 March 2011 by NS&I (National Savings and Investments)
One often unanticipated problem highlighted by NS&I’s research is that many British people admit they would not know where to find the relevant paper work needed in the event of a parent’s incapacity or death. More than two-fifths of the population (46%) admit they do not know where any of their parents’ important documents are kept, and less than a third of people (27%) know where their parents’ wills are kept, making a stressful time even more so during a time of loss. NS&I’s Savings Survey reveals that only 7% of British people have spoken to their parents about inheritance
When asked why Britons aren’t speaking with their family about this, 12% say it is simply not a priority for them, and 6% prefer to push these conversations back to a later date, assuming there will be enough time in the future. Interestingly, nearly one in ten people (9%) say their parents don’t like discussing the subject with them, and 11% say they don’t want to think about their parents passing away. 6% say they find it an embarrassing subject to talk about.
NS&I spokesperson Tim Mack says, “Later life financial planning is an important issue which affects everyone. It might be a sensitive subject, but every member of a family should try and encourage the others to sit down together and talk about this openly. This is a chance for parents to have honest conversations with their children about the importance of planning ahead, and provides an opportunity for parents to share advice from their own experiences on this matter”.
NS&I is encouraging people to bridge this gap of communication as soon as possible, and there are many benefits in doing so. 13% of the population say talking to loved ones provides a positive opportunity to discuss using the money for events, such as holidays, before the individual passes away, while 14% feel it can be a welcome chance for family members to input to the will. Half (49%) of people whose parents have passed away said it was especially important to have these conversations early because it allowed time for financial matters to be discussed in a calm fashion, instead of being held in times of stress.
The BBC programme, Can’t Take It With You encouraged people to look at later life financial planning such as writing wills. The presenter Sir Gerry Robinson, adds, “With people leading such busy lives, it is sometimes a rare occasion for all family members to be in one room at the same time; this can make it very tempting to push these family discussions back to a ‘more appropriate’ time. In reality, there will never be a ‘good time’ to bring tricky subject matters like inheritance into conversation, and the longer these discussions are avoided, the more likely it is that unforeseen problems may arise with future financial matters”.
Currently, less than a quarter (21%) of the population recognises the importance of speaking with family members about inheritance and family financial planning. NS&I is encouraging more people to take the time to sit down together and open up discussions about the family’s future finances.