5 important reasons why it is vital you discuss your will with your adult children

Published on February 20, 2023 by Andrew
A mug and a laptop on a coffee table with two elderly people behind, looking at paperwork

A recent report published by MoneyAge has found that more than half of parents haven’t spoken to their adult children about their will.

Money can often be a taboo subject – whether within a family or between partners – but communication is key.

Talking things through can help you to formulate your plans, make your wishes known, and avoid potential disputes.

Keep reading for five reasons to discuss your will now.

1. Discussing your plans is the best way to formulate them 

MoneyAge confirms that 24% of adults haven’t discussed making a will with their partner or spouse. And yet, deciding to discuss your plans can kickstart thinking about them. You might even find that articulating your thoughts reveals your plans to you.

Begin by discussing your plans with a loved one. This will help you to think seriously about the value and make-up of your estate.

Think about where you want your wealth to go, and when – do you want to give a living inheritance, for example? Now is the time to start thinking about your potential Inheritance Tax (IHT) liability too. Are your plans tax-efficient?

2. Talking about your plans could help to avoid future disputes

Talking through your will makes your wishes known, helping you and your partner to understand your reasoning. It could also help to identify any areas of potential contention.

While 57% of parents haven’t spoken to their adult children about their will, a 2021 MoneyAge article confirmed that 43% of UK adults don’t plan to split their wealth evenly between their children.

You might have perfectly valid reasons for doing this, and your children might be fully accepting of your decision. But discussing your plans with a loved one provides a great opportunity to see your decision from different sides and to be sure you are making the right choice.

With the current IHT thresholds – the nil-rate band and the residence nil-rate band – frozen until 2028, more and more people will become liable for IHT over the next five years. 

This has already led to an increase in disputed wills. Don’t let yours be one of them.

3. Once you have a plan, it is time to make your wishes known

Your will is the best way to make your wishes known. Once you have discussed your plans with a loved one, put a will in place.

Now is the time to talk this through with your children and anyone else that is affected.

While talking to people not included in your will might be tricky, failing to have these difficult conversations could mean deferring a problem. By deferring it until you are no longer around, you will be leaving unnecessary stress for others, as well as running the risk that your wishes will be challenged and might not be ultimately acted upon.

4. Be sure to keep your will up to date by checking in with it regularly

Once you have a will in place, it can be easy to think your work is done and relish the peace of mind it provides. But your will is a living document.

Life milestones and events – from births and deaths to marriages and divorce – can shift your priorities and mean that changes need to be made.

You’ll need to think about who needs to be added or removed, and remember that an unmarried partner won’t receive an inheritance automatically in the same way that a spouse or civil partner would.

5. Remember your pension and nominate a beneficiary outside of your will 

Finally, be sure to always factor in the pension you hold. Current pension rules allow you to pass unused pension funds to your chosen beneficiary tax-free in some circumstances.

The important thing to remember is this is done through your pension provider, not via your will.

You’ll need to fill out an Expression of Wish form for each provider so be sure to dig out any lost pensions and complete a form for them too. You can use the pension tracing service to help find your lost pensions.

When you have, you might consider moving them all into one pot. There are pros and cons to this approach, which you might have read when we covered 8 points to consider before consolidating your pensions back in April 2022.

In the event of your death before age 75, your unused pension pot can be passed to your chosen beneficiary, tax-free. On death after 75, any unused funds can still be passed on, but your beneficiary will pay Income Tax at the highest rate they pay.

Get in touch

If you would like to factor your pensions into your estate planning, or you just want to talk about your long-term financial plans, get in touch. Email info@thepensionplanner.co.uk or call 0800 0787 182. 

Please note

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change and their value depends on the individual circumstances of the investor.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.

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