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It's time to break the taboo and talk to family about Wills

Have a properly drafted Will that has been executed correctly

Dealing with someone’s affairs when they have died

A leading probate lawyer is calling for people to have open and honest conversations with family members about Wills and inheritance to avoid future heartache and dispute once a loved one dies.

A new online YouGov research analysis reveals UK adults are putting off talking to their family about what will happen to their money and estate when they or a family member dies, with many people admitting to using their prospective inheritance as a failsafe for future spending.

The YouGov survey of over 2,000 UK adults revealed almost half (48%) of UK adults have not spoken to family members about their own Will and future inheritance plans and 43% have not asked their parents or close relative about their Will or inheritance plans. Half of UK adults surveyed are expecting to receive an inheritance in the future, with 40% having already decided how they are going to spend the inheritance.

The survey highlighted that people aged 55+ are the most prepared with 62% admitting they have discussed the plan for their own Will with family members. However, fewer younger adults are talking to their families about their plans with just over a quarter (27%) of 25–34 year-olds and less than a third (30%) of 35–44 year-olds having these conversations.

The real danger is the number of people that are actively planning their future spending around an anticipated inheritance, and the reality is that this anticipated inheritance is not guaranteed. For example, 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.

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.

Further complications can arise when family circumstances change, for instance if a parent remarries and intends to amend their Will to make provision for their new spouse. It is important that Wills are kept up to date and that if any changes are made that they are discussed with the family members involved.

Top tips when writing a Will:

  • It is important to have a properly drafted Will that has been executed correctly
  • If you are the person writing the Will talk to your family about your intentions
  • Discuss with your solicitor the size of your Estate, any tax exemptions, and reliefs that you could use to minimise your inheritance tax liability (if any)
  • Proper advice is particularly important if there are people that would expect to benefit but you choose to leave them out of your Will or leave them less than they would expect. If you choose not to make provision for someone who would normally expect it, most solicitors will suggest that a letter of wishes is drafted which explains why, because that may reduce the chances of the Will being successfully challenged.
  • You should not be made to feel that you must benefit someone. You could choose to leave your Estates to a favourite charity, the Church or even friends. There is no requirement for you to benefit those that you would be expected to like your children, grandchildren, etc
  • Regularly review your will and keep up to date if family circumstances change


If you would like to learn more about writing a Will why not read our free guidance on writing your first Will or should I make a Will? You can search for a regulated solicitor who specialises in Wills, Trusts and Tax Planning, without ever having to provide any of your personal details, at