Families fail to discuss inheritance

Posted on January 18th, 2011 | Categories - News

About 75% of people have not talked about inheritance with their family.

Writing a will can help people to plan for retirement.

Almost half of middle-aged home owners are afraid they will have to sell their property to finance a comfortable retirement and pay for long-term care, according to new research.

The study, carried out by law firm Dickinson Dees, found that about two million people living in the UK are concerned they will be forced to put their house up for sale in order to meet the costs of retirement, which could be avoided if more people talked about inheritance and estate planning by creating a will.

The research highlighted that three quarters of people have failed to discuss matters of inheritance with their parents even though people with estates or assets worth more than £325,000, or double that for married couples and civil partnerships, are liable to pay inheritance tax (IHT) at a fixed rate of 40%.

Deborah Jude, a partner at theDickinson Dees, said: “Families need to break the taboo of silence on infirmity and mortality that currently leads to two generations being robbed of a pleasant retirement, replacing it with the misery of a battle to meet escalating care costs. Plans need to be drawn up when people reach retirement, not once they are already drifting into infirmity and the risk of health problems”.

Proper planning was outlined as a key concern – parents who opt to make a gift of their home to their children or create a trust can help people to protect their home.

Mark Keenan of law firm Mishcon de Reya said: “People are often put off by the cost of having a will prepared and by a natural reluctance to confront the reality of death. However, making a will should be seen as an opportunity to put into place your clear wishes – this might include gifts to friends and charities close to you – while at the same time ensuring that you do not have to pay more IHT than is absolutely necessary. We are seeing costly disputes over who should inherit, which can often be avoided with a well-prepared will”.