At Fielding Triggs we often hear from families who want to write their Wills, Estate Plans and LPAs following on from the death of a family member who died intestate (without a Will) or when a family member is diagnosed with dementia.
They are suddenly forced into a situation where they truly understand the consequence of having no formal record of the deceased person’s wishes or no authority to make decisions for a loved one who has lost mental capacity.
It is great to be able to help these families to formalise their wishes and take precautions for the future as they age. However we do wish we could share the message more powerfully that everyone should have these documents in place!
Why the reluctance?
Let’s face it – we don’t like talking about death. We don’t like talking about money either. Would you feel comfortable asking about your inheritance to your parents? That means talking money and death – so the answer is probably no.
However it is a conversation that we must have and it avoids far more difficult questions and decisions later. It can also mean the difference between money in your bank, according to your parent’s wishes, and money going unnecessarily to the government.
Here are some helpful tips from us on ways to approach the subject.
Know why it is important
From government advice to independent experts and commentators – everybody is in agreement that all adults should have a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney in Place. However that is not normally persuasive enough for people to take action.
We find that personal stories from people we know and case studies in the media are more compelling. For example, Sarah’s story in our blog, explains very clearly the vital importance of a Lasting Power of Attorney. Did you know you cannot make financial or health and welfare decisions for your spouse or relative without these documents in place?
Rather than explaining the theory to loved ones, having case study examples from newspapers and magazines can be a more compelling way to show why these documents are so important and the potential cost implications and legal proceedings that can occur when there is no Will or a disputed Will.
It could happen to you
Another common trigger for people to take action on their Will, Estate Planning and LPAs is when someone they know or perhaps even a celebrity figure is diagnosed with a terminal illness or passes away unexpectedly young. So often we hear of stories where a bereaved partner does not inherit because a previous Will benefits an ex-spouse instead. The deceased may have planned to write a new Will benefitting the partner but didn’t get around to it. We must think about what would happen to our loved ones today if we were suddenly not around. The time to take action is now. Stories like this can prompt a meaningful conversation.
Talking About Death
Let’s face it – we will all die and we will all have to talk about death. Putting off the conversation can lead to major family disputes, costly administration and even legal procedures.