Posted on 24th July 2014

It's Time to Adopt an Old Fashioned Attitude to Death

Natalie Palmer, Partner at Latimer Hinks Solicitors

Latimer Hinks Solicitors, one of County Durhams longest established law firms, is urging people to adopt a more "old fashioned attitude to their own mortality, as wills become increasingly problematic, particularly when so-called blended families are involved.

Figures show that 80% of people feel "uncomfortable talking about the subject, according to research by the Dying Matters Coalition. As a result they often fail to make a Will.

Parliament has recently reviewed the intestacy rules which apply where there is no Will and significant changes are being made. However the changes do not incorporate provision for non-blood relatives. So, for example, cohabitees and step-children may have to make a claim through the courts if they are to secure any provision from the deceaseds estate.

Natalie Palmer, Partner in the Private Client department at Latimer Hinks, explained: "More needs to be done to get younger people to draw up wills as soon as they have property and dependents. The perception that future planning formalities are only a concern for the middle aged and the older generation has to change. Indeed, in many ways, the younger generation has an equal need to think not only about their wills but also about related issues such as trusts, and lasting powers of attorney and they should be advised accordingly.

"Its a depressing subject and not one that most people would want to dwell on,

but isnt it better to deal with it and not have your nearest and dearest worrying about the implications for them if you die prematurely (or are disabled)? Death and disability is not something that happens only to older people.

"Perhaps we need to adopt a more Victorian attitude to death? They were entirely comfortable talking about death, and would have been excellent planners. Remember, we can't control when we die, but we can control what we leave behind; and this should matter to us all, regardless the age. Legal chaos as well as emotional turmoil is the legacy you can leave if you dont put your affairs in order and make a will.

For further information contact Latimer Hinks on 01325 341500