The Importance of Discussing Estate Planning

October 12, 2017

According to new research from Brewin Dolphin almost half (47%) of UK adults say they have never discussed inheritance matters. 26% of the 4,000 adults that took part in the poll said that they had not discussed what would happen on their death because they were not old, so did not see it as a priority.  While it is nice to believe that we will all live well into old age, accidents do happen and so age should not be a contributing factor in putting people off discussing their inheritance.

The figures do improve when faced with life events as people are more likely to talk to loved ones about their estate planning when they have a health scare (52%), a near death experience (46%) and when they feel they are getting older (46%).

Respondents to the survey were more likely to speak to some people than others, with 32% feeling most comfortable speaking to their spouse or partner, 8% discussing it with their mum and only 8% with their financial advisor.

Of those that have talked about their estate planning, 36% have talked about passing on wealth and 18% have discussed passing on personal jewellery and photos. This is particularly important to consider when making a will as families can easily fall out over the smallest of items.  While these may not be specifically detailed in wills, it is important to have a discussion about who might like to receive what item, even if it is an agreement to come to some agreement at a later date.

One of the things that might be putting people off discussing their estate planning is concerns that they may have about how much they will need to keep to fund their future lifestyle. Of those that have planned for this, they intend to use 65% of their wealth to fund their cost of living, give 25% away on death and gift 10% during their life.  The major factor in not gifting more of their estate during their life for 52% of respondents was uncertainty over how much money would have to be retained to fund retirement or later life care.  There has been an increase in those who have made lifetime gifts, generally out of the “Bank of Mum and Dad”, for wedding and house deposits, with 59% of respondents intending to make lifetime gifts in 2017, against 52% of people in 2016.

One of the easiest ways to start thinking about your estate planning and discussing it with your family, is to make an up to date will. Your solicitor can take you through all of the possibilities and the implications of what you would like to happen to your estate on your death.  This can include nursing care planning and gifting of family heirlooms.  While some may wait until a life event such as a health scare to start the conversation, it is best to consider these things without the added stress and time pressures that a health scare can bring, but any conversation about this subject is better than no conversation.

This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our Private Client Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.

Timothy Rankin, Associate Director, Private Client Team, Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Solicitors.