Ease bereavement burden by leaving a 'When I've gone list' for your loved ones
18 April 2016
A new report Losing a partner – the financial and practical consequences, commissioned by Royal London, reports the views of 500 people who had experienced bereavement in the last five years. The research finds seven in ten (69%) people who lost a partner were financially or practically unprepared for the loss. While death is a certainty we all face, only one in ten (11%) said they felt both financially and practically prepared when they lost their partner.
Two in five (41%) had made a will and three in ten (30%) said they had talked about their funeral with their partner. A quarter (25%) had discussed the prospect of their partner dying, but very few had taken any practical steps or actions.
Those who have been recently bereaved make a clear case for action, not just words, with one case study saying “it would have been really useful if there had been a list of phone numbers to use, or knowing what [my partner] wanted”. Another respondent encouraged couples to “try and put things in order” as “it won’t do you any good… if your [partner] did it all and you’re left.”
The report also found:
- One in five (22%) of those recently bereaved said the financial impact of lower income was the most difficult to deal with;
- Around one in six (18%) said they did not know what to do about the funeral; and
- Around one in six (16%) also found it challenging to look after the house following the death of their partner; a third (34%) said it was difficult to cook and nearly four in ten (37%) struggled with the washing and ironing.
Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London, said:
“The first hand experiences of bereaved families make powerful reading. Whilst nothing can prepare you for the loss of a loved one, families who have experienced a loss are clear that there are things they wish they had done to ease the practical and financial consequences of bereavement. There are steps that we can all take now that would make life easier for our loved ones after we have gone”.
Claire Henry, Chief Executive at The National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters coalition, said:
“We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about death, but this report makes clear that putting clear financial plans in place is essential as well. Having the ‘big conversation’ is an important first step to getting our plans in place, but it’s only a first step. We never really stop grieving for someone we loved who has died, but that doesn’t mean we should have to suffer the financial consequences for years as well. Financial and practical planning is as important as thinking about the care we want to receive, making a will, lasting power of attorney, or our funeral plans. Talking about death won’t make it happen, and getting our plans in place enables us to get on with living.”
To help prepare financially and practically start a conversation with your partner and find out:
- Where does your partner keep all their key financial information?
Is it online, or in a file at home? Agree a shared place for all information, from mortgages to bank accounts, and consider putting bills and accounts in both partners’ names.
- The list of tasks you each carry out
Ask your partner the question “if I died could you…” organise the car maintenance, carry out household chores or pay the utility bills?
- Does your partner have a will?
If so, is it up to date to reflect changing circumstances? Where is it kept? If you have one, does your partner know where to find it?
- Does your partner have any insurance policies or a funeral plan in place?
What are you and your partner insured for and will this be enough? Where might you want to consider further cover?
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For further information please contact:
020 7015 2556
020 7506 6585
Notes to editors:
- Research Now, on behalf of Royal London, surveyed 500 people who have been bereaved in the last five years between 24 September and 20 October 2015.
- The qualitative research comprised six in-depth interviews with people who had recently lost their partner, conducted in Croydon and Nottingham.
- If you would like a copy of Royal London’s Losing a partner – the financial and practical consequences report please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- This report, ‘When Death Happens’ is the first of four mini reports exploring the different experiences people face when they lose a partner.
About Royal London:
Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with Group funds under management of £84.5 billion. Group businesses provide around 9.1 million policies and employ 2,988 people. (Figures quoted are as at 31 December 2015).