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Britons avoid discussing financial matters for probate

27 April 2021

A large number of Britons continue to shy away from conversations around financial matters after death, even when they are executors and will need to know for probate, a new report has found.

Ampla Finance’s ‘Wills and Financial Planning – it’s time to talk’ report found 44% of respondents had not had a conversation with their parents or partner around important financial matters and 54% had not discussed details of their funeral arrangements.

Among retirees, only just over half (53%) said they had discussed financial arrangements with their partner.

Despite this, 57% of Brits admitted inheritance was a key financial pillar rather than a windfall.

The figures are in sharp contrast to how comfortable people claim to feel about tackling these conversations. Over half (55%) of respondents reported feeling comfortable having a conversation with loved ones on financial matters following a death, with retirees found to be the most comfortable.

Ampla Finance said the disconnect between theory and reality highlights the need for greater education around the importance of the probate process.

Just over one in 10 (11%) Brits who have a parent/guardian said they have enough understanding about the process to complete it, but only 14% plan to appoint a solicitor to undertake the process. The survey found that only 24% of respondents knew every bank their parents have accounts with, while almost half (48%) admitted they would not be able to find any of their parents’ banking passwords that they would need for the probate process. Only 11% said they knew all the details of their parents’ ‘wider finances’ such as loans.

Steve Gauke, head of partnership at Ampla Finance, said of the findings: “The UK probate system is notoriously complicated and increasingly slow-moving, and the lack of knowledge around its workings evidenced in this whitepaper shows that this can catch many people out. Unforeseen delays can badly impact a family’s financial planning, so we need greater education around probate and to encourage a frank conversation on family finances, even though we know it’s difficult.”

Louise Hall, commercial director at Ampla Finance, added: “We are pleased to have started a productive conversation on what has long been perceived as a taboo topic in the UK, and underscored the importance of initiating these sensitive discussions to save further stress at an already testing time for families. Our hope is that this report goes some way toward encouraging individuals to tackle the hard conversations, ahead of the difficult situation where probate is necessary.”

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