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Yesterday’s blog revealed that more than one-third of the population whose parents are still alive do not know if their parents have a Will, or how they intend to distribute their estate.  Yet about half of the people whose parents had died said that, in hindsight, they believe it is important to discuss inheritance and Wills.
Who is at fault?  Typically, on the one hand there are the parents and the immediate family is on the other.   It is easy to see that one side will leave it to the other in fear of upsetting them.  The family perhaps feel that in talking about the ‘D’ word (death) with their parents; they are in a taboo area and perceived as money-grabbers.  The parents perhaps are undecided who should inherit what, when and why and do not want to ‘argue’.  It is easy to see how easy it is not to have this conversation.  The result is far worse than could be imagined leaving broken families and ruined expectations.
We need to break the ‘Cycle of Sluggishness’ in a simple way that ‘gets to the bottom’ of things.  The Saddleworth Willwriter has a cunning plan; however, to make a start everyone must have the will to make a Will.
Step 1
If there is a reluctance to talk openly, encouragement to break the silence has to come from the family.  They are expecting to receive something from their parent’s estate and they are expecting to sort it out.  In other words, they have expectations.  Therefore, pre-empt the inevitable by ensuring a smooth inheritance process.  Select the moment and ask the question.  ‘Have you got round to making your Will yet?’
Step 2
If the answer is no, continue with sensitive questioning to find out the real reason for the sluggishness.  If the answer is yes, find out where it is stored.
Step 3
Sensitive questioning will reveal if there is difficulty in deciding the outcome of the Will.  If there are dilemmas to resolve, suggest talking about them to ensure they are resolved amicably.  Solutions are easier to find than most people think.  If advice is required, contact a member of the Institute of Professional Willwriters.  Most members will meet to discuss requirements and suggest options without obligation.
Step 4
The cycle of sluggishness is broken and solutions are available; keep up the momentum until the Will is properly signed.
Step 5
The rest of the family should make their own Wills.
This will not work for everyone, but calm discussion achieves results.