Important inheritance conversations

When it comes to later life planning, talking to family about your plans is essential.

According to new research, almost half of UK adults have not spoken to their family members about the contents of their will or their inheritance plans.

While many people are basing their future plans on the receipt of an inheritance, and in many cases have already decided how they will spend the money, they also haven’t discussed financial arrangements when a family member dies.

The research from law firm Stephensons found that half of those surveyed expect to receive an inheritance in the future.

40% of those expecting to receive an inheritance have already decided how they will spend the money!

Despite this expectation, almost half of UK adults have not spoken with family members about their will or future inheritance plans.

43% admitted they had not asked their parents or other close relatives about their will or inheritance plans.

According to the survey, the over-55s are best prepared for the future, with 62% saying they have discussed future inheritance plans with family members.

However, younger generations are not so good at communicating with family members about future inheritance plans, with 27% of 25 to 34-year-olds, and 30% of 35 to 44-year-olds having these important conversations.

The survey also looked at how people plan to spend an anticipated inheritance.

20% said they would save inherited money, with 15% planning to pay off some or all of their mortgage.

9% said they would spend the inheritance on a holiday, and 8% would carry out home improvements with the money. 6% would buy a car, and 5% would use the money to pay school fees.

A further 10% who expect to receive an inheritance in the future do not yet know how they would allocate the money.

According to Jill Rushton, Partner and Head of the Wills and Probate team at Stephensons Solicitors, there is a danger that many people are actively planning their future financial plans around an anticipated inheritance. Jill said:

“Now is the time to break down the taboo and talk to our family members about Wills and inheritance, whatever your age, and get a Will in place.

“If families don’t have honest conversations with each other about later life financial planning, Wills may make a provision different than family members are expecting, or if there is no Will, the estate gets directed by the rules of intestacy in a way that is also different to loved ones expectations.

“The moral is that people need to talk to family members about what will happen to an estate when they die and those leaving the estate should consult a solicitor to make a Will, if they have not done so already, and keep it updated. Later life financial planning will avoid any nasty surprises or unintended consequences occurring.”