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Nearly half of adults have not had the “difficult conversation” about finances on death

Almost half of Brits who have a parent, guardian or partner have not had the “difficult conversation” about finances on death, a major study has revealed.

The finding – which forms part of new inheritance whitepaper, Wills and financial planning – it’s time to talk – suggests that millions of families could be left vulnerable to the laws of intestacy or lengthy probate battles in the event of an unexpected accident or illness.

Published by investment firm Ampla Finance, the survey of 2,165 adults reveals that almost one in two (44 per cent) Brits have not tackled the “difficult conversation” with family members around financial arrangements following their death.

In addition, almost nine in 10 (89 per cent) adults say they know nothing about their parents’ wider financial situation – such as if they have credit card debt or outstanding loans.

The research also reveals that just one in 10 (11 per cent) Brits “have enough understanding” about the probate process to complete it, despite just 14 per cent of families having appointed a solicitor.

Furthermore, just 12 per cent of respondents said they were encouraged to review their Will or funeral arrangements as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The study comes as the significance of family inheritance shifts. While a gift left in a Will used to be considered a “windfall” or “bonus”, almost three in five (57 per cent) adults now see inheritance as a “key financial pillar” and will use it to pay bills, clear personal debt or help fund a house deposit.

Commenting on the paper, Steve Gauke, Director of Business Development at Ampla Finance, said the survey “highlights a widespread lack of awareness around family finances and the probate process”.

“The UK probate system is notoriously complicated and increasingly slow moving,” he said.

“The lack of knowledge around its workings evidenced in this white paper shows this can catch many people out. Unforeseen delays can badly impact a family’s financial planning, so we need greater education around probate.

“We need to encourage a frank conversation on family finances, even though we know it’s difficult.”

Linsey Graham, a Probate Practitioner with Mander Hadley, who specialises in Wills, said: “Having an open and frank conversation with your family and intended beneficiaries is not only extremely important but can actually provide peace of mind as it takes away a great deal of uncertainty, providing reassurance that potential money worries have been properly considered.

“There are a number of tax efficient steps that can be taken, providing that plans are put in place in good time; including trusts which can help protect your legacy and ensure your loved ones are financially taken care of.”

To find out more about trusts or to discuss making a Will, please get in touch with us.

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