Losing a parent is hard. If your parent dies without a will, it’s much harder still. When you lose a close family member, it can feel as though you’re entering a bit of time warp. Some people lose their sense of time, place and context following a death in the family – as though the daily routine doesn’t matter anymore.
That’s when you really feel the support of the rest of your family and you rely on the strength and sympathy of not just your friends, but those in business with whom you have dealings during the early weeks and months of your bereavement.
Nothing lasts forever, though.
Once all the letters of sympathy and messages of condolence have been exhausted, the natural pattern of everyday life – with its pressures and responsibilities – takes over once more.
The pain of your loss may not have subsided, but as your dear one would point out gently, Life carries on.
So do the letters of demand from companies that were owed money by your relative, the form-filling, the phone calls to make, the expenses incurred to send endless documents by recorded delivery … If he or she died without stipulating clearly who was to be the executor of the estate, the heirs to the inheritance are off to a rocky start.
Even if you decide as a family to nominate two of you to administer your deceased relative’s estate in the absence of a will, the legal ‘grant of administration’ can take over a year to be processed. If your late parent had debts to come off the estate, you can be sure that you’ll have demands for those long before you see anything paid out.
Successors of someone who has died intestate can be out of pocket for while. That is stressful enough. Add to that the family relationships that can suffer and this could be a very damaging time.
According to the American Psychological Association , the loss of a loved one is one of the top six most stressful factors that can lead to heart disease and death. As a family, every one of you will be feeling the pressure as well as the grief from your loss. You might think that this would be an ideal opportunity for you all to show your support and love for each other, but the cruel truth is that this can be a time of turmoil, tempers and trial for otherwise solid families.
Is it worth it?
No, according to many families who have found themselves in this miserable situation.
Nobody likes to think of the death of a loved one, but if you have a parent who hasn’t created or recently updated their will, make it a priority to talk about it. In many instances, they haven’t done so because they don’t like talking to solicitors. Here’s the good news:
hey don’t need to speak to a lawyer to draw up a proper will. Talking to an independent will writer is a very different experience: it can happen at home over a cup of tea and a chat.
It might be the most important cup of tea and chat they’ll ever have. Here’s to your peace of mind!