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11 May 2020

Dying Matters Awareness Week

Today is the start of Dying Matters Awareness Week and the aim is to raise awareness of the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement.

As a private client solicitor, I am aware of how difficult it can be for people to talk about what their wishes may be in later life, so I fully support the Dying Matters Awareness campaign that enables us to change public attitudes and behaviour around dying. I recently acted for a couple who had been putting off these important conversations for years as they did not like to think about getting ill or dying. However, the thought of their wishes not being met made them realise how important it was to talk about these matters to ensure their wishes were heard.

Here are two things you can do to ensure your wishes are met. Whilst they will take a lot of thought, getting to grips with them and making the difficult decisions will ensure there are fewer things to worry about in the future.

  1. Make a Will

Most of us know what a Will is, however, it is all too easy to think “I’ll get to it tomorrow”. Many clients I have acted for feel a huge sense of relief once they have put their Will in place. This is because a Will sets out to whom your money and property (your estate) passes to and it is reassuring to know that, once the Will is in place, their estate is going to pass in accordance with their wishes.

Clients can also feel comforted to know that Wills can deal with more personal concerns such as “who will look after the cat when I’m gone?” which I find client’s can also worry about when thinking about dying.

If you do not have a valid Will in place, your estate will pass in accordance with the intestacy rules which can often be an inflexible and unfair system. This can cause a lot of worry for loved ones, especially for un-married couples, and it is therefore very important to make that step in putting a Will in place.

  1. Funeral Wishes

Again, my experience as a private client practitioner tells me how difficult it is for clients to have this conversation. I have had clients tell me that when they go to talk about their funeral wishes, their loved ones do not want to engage in the conversation as they find it too upsetting. I then find that loved ones regret not having this discussion as it then falls to them to make these difficult decisions.

A way around this is to ensure that your funeral wishes are noted down so that they are recorded somewhere for your loved ones to find. At Steeles Law, we provide forms for our Will clients to complete which ask questions ranging from whether you wish to be cremated or buried to who you would like to conduct the service to what hymns you would like at your funeral. This form can then be stored with their Will so that when the time comes, there is no doubt as to what our client’s wishes are. Family and friends can then feel happy that they have arranged a service which they know their loved ones would have wanted.

Steeles Law is able to support our clients with making Wills if you would like to talk about making arrangements for later life to ensure your wishes are met, or you would like to discuss any of the points raised in our Dying Matters Awareness Week article further please contact our Private Client team by emailing info@steeleslaw.co.uk or calling 01379 652141.

*The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.


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