• February 29, 2024
 Majority avoid discussing ‘very awkward’ inheritance topic

Majority avoid discussing ‘very awkward’ inheritance topic

The majority of people in the UK are avoiding discussion of the “very awkward” topic of inheritance, new research has suggested.

Despite 72% anticipating that they will leave some sort of inheritance to their loved ones, some 66% of people have not discussed the topic with their family due to its purported awkwardness, according to a Tower Street Finance poll of 2,000 adults in the UK who are, or expect to be, the beneficiary of a will.

What’s more, nearly a quarter of respondents said inheritance is the most awkward of any conversation they could have.

People from Bristol are the most likely to have never discussed inheritance with their parents / children (31%), followed by those in Liverpool (30%) and Birmingham (28%). Men (47%) are more likely to find it an uncomfortable conversation than women (40%).

Even though politics is often seen as a divisive topic, more than a third of people (38%) would far rather discuss this than inheritance.

This lack of openness is leaving four in ten (41%) feeling clueless about what they will get when their parents pass away.

On average, people expect to inherit assets worth £159k from each parent. However, the average financial legacy was actually £221k in 2022.

Experts warn that failing to plan for and talk about financial legacies in advance can lead to heated inheritance disputes down the line and also potentially unexpected bills for beneficiaries.

Nearly a quarter of Brits (24%) admitted they’ve already argued with family members about inheritance at least once.

Manchester is the most argumentative city when it comes to inheritance (44% have had at least one argument), followed by Glasgow (39%) and Sheffield (31%).

“My parents have brought up the topic of inheritance with my sister and I a couple of times, but it’s never been discussed in any detail,” said Charlotte Cox, 33, a marketing director from North Yorkshire of her experience, who said the whole topic feels like a “complete minefield”. She added:

“It always feels so awkward – when they bring it up, I just go quiet. I don’t expect anything from them. My partner and I are doing fairly well and are self-sufficient. I just want my parents to have a good quality of life in their retirement and not worry about us.”

Dicky Davies, Co-Founder and Business Development Director at Tower Street Finance, said:

“Our research shows that inheritance can be a very sensitive topic that a lot of people struggle to bring up. However, with most people planning to leave money or assets to loved ones after they have passed, but less than half (48%) having a written will in place, being open about [one’s] specific wishes is especially important.

With the increase in blended families, putting a will in place is even more important if [one has] children from previous relationships that [they] want to be treated differently. What’s more, avoiding this topic and not putting plans in place in advance could leave beneficiaries with a heftier IHT bill.

We know that the hardest part for many is to initiate a conversation, but it’s worth the effort.”

Jamie Lennox, Editor, Today's Wills and Probate

Editor of Today's Conveyancer, Today's Wills and Probate, and Today's Family Lawyer Contact LinkedIn jamie.lennox@todaysmedia.co.uk Twitter