21 June 2016
Why you should start the Big Conversation
None of us likes to think about getting ill or dying but talking about it won’t make it happen. The sooner people start having the ‘big conversation’, the sooner they can sit back, relax and enjoy life without worrying about what will happen in the future.
In a first for the firm, our wills, trusts and probate team hosted The Big Conversation, a drop-in coffee morning at Beaconsfield Town Hall on 13 May to coincide with the national annual initiative, Dying Matters Awareness Week.
The firm was joined by Sunrise Senior Living, Beaufort Asset Management, Arnold Funeral Service and Universal Care to provide expert advice to help guests start having that all important conversation and to begin planning for their later years.
But why is it so important to start having the ‘big conversation’ now?
72% of the public believe that people in Britain are uncomfortable discussing dying, death and bereavement and only 18% say they have asked a family member about their end of life wishes.
With an ageing population and people living longer with life limiting illnesses, it is now even more important to start talking about your wishes and those of your loved ones.
Craig Williams, practice group leader of the wills, trusts and probate team, says: “When the time comes to make decisions about care for loved ones or to deal with loss, the burden is significantly lessened on the remaining family or relatives if they know what their loved ones would have wanted.”
Craig has the following tips on how to start discussing and planning for later life care.
You don’t have to be ill or dying to talk about later life care or death and to put plans in place.It can sometimes be easier to have the conversation when in full health.
You may also find it easier to start the conversation with things you don’t want, rather than what you do want.
Talking about later life, end of life or post-death wishes doesn’t always have to be disheartening and a sense of humour can really help. Don’t be worried about saying the wrong thing.
Write a will
Only 35% of the public say they have written a will but having one can avoid difficult legal problems for your family later on. Most people don’t realise that dying without a will can be much more costly than the price of preparing a will in the first place.
Plan for future care and support by setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney. You can also discuss your care wishes with your GP.
Record your wishes
Only 27% of people have talked to someone about their funeral wishes and only 7% have written them down.
However, many people have strong views about what happens to them later in life and after they die, so it is important that this is recorded.
If your estate is complex, you are unmarried, want to avoid family feuds, want to make a charitable donation or join the 32% of people in the UK on the organ donor register, it is important to record your wishes and in the case of organ donation, share them with your loved ones.
“Talking openly about end of life care and dying can make things easier in the long run, and knowing your wishes are recorded brings a huge sense of relief,” Craig concludes.