Life insurance Updated:
The loss of a loved one can take an emotional toll on family and friends, but matters are made even more stressful when a financial muddle is left behind. Sadly this is an added stress that many families in the UK go through; according to research carried out by Willsandassets.co.uk, around one-third of families experience difficulties in tracing the assets of loved ones who have passed away.
The nationwide survey found that 31% of those who had lost someone in the last 10 years had encountered difficulties when trying to locate the assets of the deceased. The value of these assets was often not trivial, with respondents fearing that they were missing, on average, around £9,700. Another 12% of respondents believed that they were missing an even larger sum of £20,000 or more.
These are clearly significant sums of money that should, in theory, be easy to trace. However, locating this money is often not an easy ride. According to the survey, 39% of those who had lost a loved one over the last decade said that they had forked out an average of £2,250 in fees to pay for solicitors and other advisers – a high price to pay if the assets cannot be located.
The root cause of these financial muddles is the absence of a will, or the lack of an up-to-date copy. The survey found that only 49% of respondents currently have a will in place, although this number rose to 79% among those who were aged 65 or more. However, only 37% of this age group have updated their wills in the last two years, potentially opening their families up to a financial headache should they die.
"No one wants to think about what will happen when they die," commented Stephen Foden of Willsandassets.co.uk, "but failing to do so can leave loved ones with significant problems and stress at an already tough time.
"With more than 175,000 people a year struggling to sort out loved ones' finances, there is clearly a need for better planning."
If you want to save your friends and family heartache and money, the best thing to do is to make sure you have an up-to-date will in place.
Before you start, make sure you know the location of all of your assets and know how much they are worth. We all have old savings accounts that have gathered dust and been lost to memory, so a little detective work may be in order to ensure that you haven't missed anything out.
Once your assets are all accounted for, it's time to draw up that will. There are many places that offer will-writing services, from traditional legal firms to online companies. All methods have their pros and cons, so it is up to you which service you pick. However, it's best to make sure that the person you see is a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters or the Society of Willwriters.
It's natural to worry about what will happen to those you care about after you're gone, especially in terms of finances. If you have a mortgage, or you just want to give your family a helping hand with funeral expenses, life insurance cover could be the solution you're looking for.
There are many different types of life insurance, from whole of life cover to decreasing term insurance, so it's important to find a policy that suits you and your budget. You can find out more about the different types of life cover available by reading our insurance guides. Once you know everything you need to know about life insurance, you can start shopping around for quotes. You can get a no-obligation quote today by using our comparison tool.
Once you've found the cover you need, and you've updated your will, you can sit back safe in the knowledge that your loved ones will be financially secure after your death. This may take a bit of effort, but the peace of mind it will bring will be worth it.
Read our life insurance guides
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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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