I was really excited last week when I saw the trailer on the BBC for “Can’t Take It With You”.
Where Gerry Robinson, helps families in turmoil over their Wills decide the best course of action.
For me, it was brilliant as it demonstrated exactly the process I go through with my clients and why I always offer an initial consultation because as a nation we don’t like to talk about death and money!
I have said to many clients that Estate Planning for me is not about dying but in essence creating an “insurance document which underpins a conversation”.
We are as a nation uncomfortable talking about death, emotions and family issues and whilst on the whole most people, when prompted, will think about the “what if’s” they would prefer to live in blissful ignorance and hope “it will be all right”!
The point is, life happens and family units no longer follow the tradition of one marriage, ‘till death us do part. Things change, multiple families occur with responsibility for children who are not your own. Gay couples, in the absence of civil partnerships have no rights over each other. And if you are retired and need long term care then your life achievements, wealth and potential inheritance for children can be lost very quickly.
So what does this mean for an Independent Estate Planner?
In reality, although my objective is to advise and create the correct “insurance document” for my clients, a lot of my conversation is actually around challenging thinking on “what’s best”.
This can create differences of opinion, feelings of discomfort and even upset but it is essential that all family and personal areas are discussed and explored to prevent challenges further down the line.
So in part, my job can end up acting as counsellor, family mediator and confidant. I challenge people’s thinking on what they think is the right thing to do, and alternatives should they be appropriate.
My sessions can “open up the can of worms” but it is precisely these issues that can create conflict after death and need to be discussed. So I ensure these are “opened up”, discussed, committed to your Will and then you can forget about it, hopefully for a very long time.