We all know that death is a part of life, but for many of us it seems it’s an uncomfortable topic to discuss and one that a lot of people shy away from.
New research from financial services firm LifeSearch has found that many people in the UK avoid talking to friends and relatives about death.
Reporting on the survey, Cover Magazine revealed that 24 per cent of those questioned said that they’d avoid talking about death because they felt uncomfortable. The same percentage also said that they didn’t like talking about money with friends and family.
Other topics that Brits avoid talking about include sex (33 per cent) and religion and politics (22 per cent). The research found that this was either due to awkwardness or concern about upsetting the person they were talking to.
However, over one-quarter of those surveyed revealed that they’d been impacted by the death of a loved one whose financial situation was unknown. In fact, 48 per cent of them had been faced with unexpected financial bills after losing a loved one because they didn’t know what the status of their finances was.
These ranged between £1,000 and £5,000 to pay for short-term expenses, like a funeral or to clear outstanding debts.
Because we fail to talk about these things, many of us don’t know if our parents have life insurance. In fact, 77 per cent of those surveyed said that this was the case.
Speaking to the news provider, CEO of LifeSearch Tom Baigrie said that it’s important to have these difficult conversations because it could prevent “serious emotional and financial pain” further down the line.
“It is our firm belief that communication is a two-way thing we want to help people up and down the UK embrace that and protect the lives they love,” he stated.
Mr Baigrie also revealed that millennials are the generation that struggle the most when it comes to talking about these difficult issues. He added that they’re also under-protected from unforeseen events because despite worrying about their own health and financial wellbeing they haven’t taken steps to insure themselves.
To help raise awareness, LifeSearch has launched a Let’s Start Talking campaign to encourage more people to discuss these kinds of issues.
That might involve talking to your friends and family about what kind of funeral you’d like. You may want to choose a basic cremation instead of something more costly, for example.
And it’s not just an issue that younger people face. Research from Royal London recently revealed that almost half (45 per cent) of parents with grown up children don’t discuss the content of their wills with anyone but their partner.
The main reasons for not wanting to talk about their will were that they didn’t want to upset anyone who would benefit from their will, and that they didn’t want to think about dying.
However, the company’s representative Mona Patel explained that talking about your will with your family can help ensure they’re prepared when you do die.