UK - Taboo that leaves families destitute

23 October 2012


We all like to think that we're going to live forever - at the very least. So maybe it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that 37% of British families have never discussed what will happen to their family when they die.

And our refusal to deal with the issue could have devastating effects.


Research from Tesco Bank found that over a third of people have not had a conversation with their family about what would happen to those who depend on them if they were to die. Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James says: "There is a certain amount of reluctance on the part of many families to discuss what will happen if they or their partner dies. This issue throws up big, challenging questions about life and death and many would prefer to just stick their head in the sand."

The problem is that if you pass away without making proper plans, you could cause a massive emotional, legal and financial nightmare for those you leave behind.


With complex families, and changing relationships, we need to be very clear about our wishes for who would take care of the children. It may seem obvious that the other parent would step in, but what if you were to die together? And whoever we ask to look after our nearest and dearest, have we given any thought to how they would actually pay for it?

The risk is that if we don't ask these difficult questions, and agree who will care for our children, then there's no guarantee that they will have the future you expect. And if we don't make financial plans to pay for the care of the children, then even those with the best possible intentions are going to struggle to give them everything they would have had if you were still around.


The simple answer is that if you have children you need life insurance. Worryingly, the research also found that over 40% of all parents with children under the age of 18 have no life cover.

Some 60% of people said the cost was holding them back. However, this is the one kind of insurance which surprises people because of its low costs. The average monthly premium is around £15 or £20 - which wouldn't keep some kids entertained for more than a weekend.

If you have mortgage or other debts, then this becomes even more vital (whether or not you have children), because those you leave behind will suddenly be responsible for the money you owe.

Most mortgage companies insist on seeing evidence of life cover - as they don't want to be left high and dry if you die. However, with many people owing tens of thousands of pounds in personal loans and credit cards, we need to make sure these are covered too.

Matthew Gledhill, Director of Beagle Street, said: "Far too many Britons are at risk of financial difficulty should an adult in the household pass away. The average UK household owes more than £55,000, and many of them have no provision in place."

Because while it may not seem like the nicest thing to sit down with a loved one and discuss death, it's much easier for all concerned than someone else sitting down with them after you have died and explaining why that in addition to being bereaved, they are also going to be penniless.

 Source: AOL Money

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