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The end-of-life priorities to help your loved ones

Cherry Reynard
Written By:
Cherry Reynard

One in three adults have dealt with the financial affairs of someone who has died, yet only around a quarter have a comprehensive file of financial information.

The research has been done by Royal London as part of ‘Dying Matters’ week, which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life. It was set up by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), a coalition of individual and organisational members across England and Wales.

Louise Eaton-Terry, funeral expert at Royal London, said: “Talking about death isn’t always easy, but having plans in place will lessen the financial impact and make things a little bit easier for those you leave behind. While planning can seem daunting, you can start by simply having a conversation with your loved ones about your last wishes.”

Royal London has compiled a top five list of end-of-life priorities to help loved ones:

  1. Write a will

A will ensures that the right people inherit from you and while most of us know how important it is to have a will and keep it up-to-date, many of us don’t do it. Royal London research shows that three in five adults (60%) don’t have a will, and a quarter (26%) of those are aged 55 and above. It’s especially important for cohabitating couples to have a will, as the surviving partner does not automatically inherit any estate or possessions left behind.

  1. Think about care of children

If you have children it’s important to decide on guardians, but three in five (58%) parents with children under 18 haven’t chosen guardians should they die. Think about who you would want to step into this role and ask them if they’d be happy to do so. Then make sure you appoint them as guardians in your will.

  1. Write a ‘when I’m gone’ list

More than one in 10 (12%) adults admitted it would be very difficult for anyone to handle their financial affairs after they died. Pulling together all your personal and financial information into one simple document can really help your loved ones when you’re gone.

  1. Make a plan to pay for your funeral

Royal London’s research shows the average cost of a funeral is around £3,800, with one in six people (16%) saying they struggled with the cost. Having a plan in place to pay for your funeral will mean your family won’t have to find several thousand pounds at a difficult time.

  1. Have a conversation with your family

Having a conversation with your family about your wishes can remove a great deal of uncertainty for them at a difficult time. The research shows that for those who have had to arrange a funeral, two in five (41%) were not left any instructions from the deceased. Starting a conversation might include talking about your funeral wishes with your loved ones or showing them where your important documents are kept.