Finding family finances
Posted on 30th June 2021
It seems that we are reluctant to talk about our finances, even with our family and closest friends.
A recent YouGov survey showed that people rarely discuss financial matters, even important information that their executors need to know if they die.
When someone dies without a legally valid Will, the rules of intestacy will apply. This can be difficult for the family members and friends left behind, but it’s even more challenging when there isn’t any information about their wishes and there isn’t a list of assets.
Although the family might be expected to have some information about their loved ones’ finances, the survey showed less than a quarter of respondents knew every bank account their parents or guardians held. Almost a fifth had no knowledge at all of where their parents banked.
Even when family members knew which banks or other institutions were used, almost half didn’t know or wouldn’t be able to find the passwords needed for an executor to gain access
The picture is even more confusing where wider finances are concerned. Only around one in 10 adults know the details of loans, shares, assets, property, or mortgages. One in thirty didn’t have any of the information they would need to apply for probate.
Even those who had some knowledge of their parents’ finances or bank account details didn’t have any wider infromation.
Who knows most
People who are retired themselves are most likely to know their parents’ banking and other financial details. Since most retirerees are in their 60s, their elderly parents might need extra support with many of their day to day arrangements, including their finances.
In general, women are more likely than men to be aware of their parents’ or guardians’ finances.
In contrast, adults between 35 and 44 years old are the least likely to know about their parents’ wider finances.
What’s the problem with sharing financial information?
British adults are more willing to talk with their loved ones about their mental health than money.
For family members the uncertainty, lack of communication, and missing information can cause stress and could mean that some parts of their parents’ estate are unclaimed or that more tax is due than expected.
While one unforeseen consequence of the pandemic has been increased financial awareness amongst millennials, older generations still find talking about money an uncomfortable experience.
Taking time to broach the subject with family members will be helpful in the longer term. Making sure your parents take some time to make a record of their finances and wishes will make dealing with their estate much easier. You can ask them questions in the context of your own finances or discuss reports in the news to start the conversation.
If you think it’s time for your parents to make or update their Will, please get in touch.
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