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Will writing: talking to your loved ones

Modern etiquette is a complex subject.   Etiquette is a set of rules which dictate acceptable behaviour in society or social situations. Some are obvious. Being punctual, wearing headphones to listen to music on your morning commute, or a simple please and thank you are all examples of etiquette.  The trouble is when it comes to writing a will and talking about inheritance, the rules of etiquette are not so black and white.   And the result? People often avoid talking about it. No one likes to think about death, and estate planning can be a tricky topic of conversation.  However, writing a will is essential. Let’s take a look at why.  

Advantages of writing a will

If you turn up to your favourite restaurant hoping to get a table, you might leave disappointed – and probably hungry. You can avoid this scenario by planning and booking a table in advance. The point is, leaving things to chance is rarely the best option. This is especially true when it comes to estate planning. A will is a legal document which makes your wishes known. Writing a will can give you peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones are taken care of, and your affairs are in order. By writing a will, you can help avoid possible family disagreements. Having to divide up possessions and assets can cause tensions.  The bottom line is, writing a will means that things are not left to chance.

The numbers

According to research by Octopus Investments, people on average wait until the age of 74 to discuss their will.  One in five noted they don’t like talking about death as the reason for not writing a will. It seems to be an awkward conversation for children to have, as well. Data from the National Savings and Investments survey revealed that only 7% of people have spoken about inheritance with their parents. The numbers don’t lie; inheritance is a conversation we would rather avoid.  But is it time we stop looking at the topic of inheritance and estate planning as taboo?  After all, the decisions you make in your will affect your loved ones. Talking to them first could ease future tensions, and give them a chance to understand your choices.  If you are looking to have a conversation with your family before writing a will, here’s some advice.  

Setting goals and writing a draft

You may have noticed the running theme of this article – planning ahead. Before sitting down to discuss your will, understand what your intentions are. The Money Advice Service suggests that you write a list with your key priorities. What do you want your money to achieve? Do you want to leave some money for charity? Do you want to leave money to pay for your grandchildren’s education? These are some examples of what you may consider. Once you have a clear set of goals, write out a draft will. A draft will give you a logical idea of what your intentions are and provide a talking point.

Writing a draft first can make help to organise your thoughts Writing a draft first can make help to organise your thoughts

Talking to your loved ones

You have your goals, and you have written a draft. Great! Now it’s time to sit down with your loved ones and discuss it. This is your chance to explain the details and your reasoning. Being open to suggestions and having an open conversation may bring things to light that you missed. Remember, your will is never final. Things change in life, and your will can reflect those changes. It’s important to make your loved ones aware of this.  

Writing your will

After speaking to your loved ones, the next step is writing a will. At this stage, you’re making everything official, and more importantly, legally binding. Writing a will can be more than just estate planning. You might include other wishes in your will, such as your living situation preferences.   For this reason, you may want to have another talk with your loved ones once you have your plan in place.  

Final thoughts

There is no guidebook or blueprint on modern etiquette. Talking about inheritance and ultimately, death, is never an easy subject to address. How you approach it will be down to you, but hopefully, our tips will help to guide you. If you would like to find out more about estate planning, or for expert advice on writing a will, contact us using the form below. We can’t have the difficult conversation for you, but we can make the process of writing a will as pain-free as possible.

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