The pandemic has been a grim reminder that life is finite.
It came to mind while I alighted on a previous blog of ours on will and estate planning.
Frankly, it’s a subject most of us would gladly avoid. Until the time we are forced to confront it.
Which is why biting the bullet and planning ahead for something which eventually claims us all makes sense.
By doing so, it can offer peace of mind to all concerned that arrangements are in place at a time when grief might make it very hard to start such a process.
I think it’s important to understand how people do – or don’t – prioritise planning for life’s only true certainties (to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin): death and taxes.
I’d like you to do a three-second experiment.
Imagine you’re back in the office (some of us are). Or you can do this at the supermarket. Estimate how many people you can see have elderly parents or grandparents. Now ask yourself: would they know what to do if they were to lose them?
Aside from arranging the funeral, would they know how to gather the assets and belongings their loved one left behind – and what to do with them?
What percentage did you come to?
When we lose someone close to us, the best-case scenario is that they have all the documents we need in one place so that we can hand them to a qualified professional to sort out.
Unfortunately, all too often, this is not the case, as I found out when it happened to me.
When I lost my father, I wasn’t expecting the amount of work necessary to settle his estate.
As someone who had worked in financial services for many years there was a reasonable expectation that I would know what to do. I was an executor of his will. It was my responsibility to ensure everything was taken care of in the way he had specified.
He had a will so that was a good starting point but there were many things that needed to be sorted – bank and building society accounts, investments, pensions (State and private), bills, etc.
It was an emotional task and one I had to juggle with family and work life, for an extended period of time. I kept on thinking how much worse this all would have been if Dad hadn’t drawn up his will.
Research published by Royal London in December 2018 found that 54% of UK adults don’t have a will, and 5.4 million adults have no idea how to make one.
You may be one of those people. And, based on the figures, it’s likely that a significant number of your colleagues or employees also will be.
Without a will, the family left behind is destined to spend months knee-deep in paperwork, at the time when they are most vulnerable.
Wills, expression of wish forms, and lasting power of attorney, are topics that are covered in our webinar ‘Where there’s a will…’ which is part of the financial education service Punter Southall Aspire offers to employers.
Explaining what employees need to know about writing a will or putting a lasting power of attorney in place can give your staff peace of mind, and an improved sense of control over their financial affairs.
Get in touch today to find out more about our employee wellbeing webinars, tailored to the needs of your workforce.