We’re in an increasingly digital age, and with thousands of financial institutions it is simply not practical to expect an executor to write to every single one in case you had taken out an online savings account or similar.
And even if a paper copy of a life policy or share certificate is stored in a shoebox or a filing cabinet, isn’t it better the executor is told where to look?
FTA: How can advisers help guide client conversations to these often difficult topics?
BM: Kinherit and IFAs share a common goal - to provide best advice and best service to clients. We are very granular in terms of the instructions we take, so that we don't just produce a comprehensive will but also have the permission to notify and coordinate with executors, the family and the deceased’s IFA (if there is one).
This allows the IFA to play the vital role of providing continuity of advice and support, and perhaps where young children are involved it gives further peace of mind that their children have the right professional advice from the outset.
FTA: The harsh reality is people, especially women, are finding it difficult to access advice on their needs - how can we help close the gap and ensure more people do not end up with families hit by IHT or family disputes?
BM: We need to end the perception that professional end of life planning is only for the 1 per cent who have assets or businesses or complex families.
Death has far-reaching consequences, and everyone’s situation is unique. And given all your wealth goes through it, isn’t it worth spending time? But the good news is that end of life planning is now accessible.
So whether you just want to specify a guardian for your kids, or say what would happen to your pets, or who you want at your funeral - make sure you also put a power of attorney in place (...just in case) and list your assets (to avoid them getting lost) and lay out a basic handover plan.
There is an added challenge for people who want to put a will in place, because the industry is not regulated, and the people writing wills are often more interested in upselling products than getting the will right.
Certainly this is reflected in our experience reviewing wills written by third parties, with more than 50 per cent [of the ones we've seen] containing serious legal errors (up to and including a testator who had himself as his own beneficiary).