We need to break the taboo surrounding wills

Britons are – fairly or unfairly – stereotypically portrayed as reserved people. In fact, there is a cliché dedicated to this trait: British reserve.

A 2019 survey by data analytics team YouGov showed that 60% of UK adults described themselves as “reserved”, compared with only 31% who called themselves “outgoing”. And while this might seem inconsequential, it could be argued that the reserved nature of large portions of the UK public holds them back from discussing uncomfortable subjects, such as health, relationships and finances. This is extremely problematic when it comes to wills.

Britons shying away from creating wills

A separate YouGov poll, which spoke to people aged between 18 and 50 with an income of at least £50,000, found that while 82% of those surveyed said that having a will was important, a mere 31% had created one. Why the disconnect?

The consensus, particularly among law firms, is that people shy away from creating a will because it forces them to broach potentially difficult subjects. In fact, it requires an individual to think about – and discuss – their health, relationships and finances when coming up with a plan for what will happen with their money and assets when they die.

At My Pension Expert, we feel strong that we must address, and ultimately break, this taboo. Wills are, after all, essential for ensuring your financial affairs are in good order and properly dealt with after you die. They provide peace of mind to both the owner of the will, and their loved ones.

Free Wills Months

There is no better time to push aside any potential awkwardness and start the process of creating a will. October is Free Wills Month – an initiative launched by several large charities, in partnership with participating solicitors, enabling over-55s in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to have simple wills written or updated free of charge.

Even for those not applicable to this campaign, Free Wills Months has raised awareness of the fact that more people need to be writing their wills – and My Pension Expert wholeheartedly supports this position.

Just as with retirement finances, one cannot bury their head in the proverbial sand when it comes to wills. The best approach is to seek out professional advice; speak to experts and assess what the best solution is in your given situation.

Indeed, that is why this year My Pension Expert began a partnership with Simpler Law. It enables us to refer pension planners across to the friendly team of experts at Simpler Law for advice and services surrounding wills. It is a partnership borne out of our desire to help our clients and give them the best possible service when planning their financial future.

So, while the thought of discussing death and finances in the pub, at the dinner table, or over Zoom with your loved ones might seem daunting, it is something that everyone must do. If you do not have a will already, now is as good a time as any to start the process of creating one.