This week is Dying Awareness Week. It’s organised every May by the organisation Dying Matters with the aim of encouraging people to talk about dying, death and bereavement.
At Optimum, we are all in favour of this event, because we absolutely agree that it is important for people to talk about dying, or at the very least to give some thought to what they want to happen after their death. Because unless we do so, how will our loved ones know our wishes?
Why talk about dying?
There is a saying that there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes, but as a nation we seem to shy away from the topic of death.
Yet the only way to let people know your views about what should happen when you die – for example, how you want your funeral to be conducted, how you would like your estate to be distributed – is by letting people know during your lifetime.
One way is through making a will, and yet 60 per cent of adults die without writing one, which can lead to upset, confusion and potentially conflict between those you leave behind. Let alone the delays this can cause in distributing the estate and the potentially higher than necessary inheritance tax liability.
We’ve written before about writing a will, and you can read our tips here. The team at Optimum would be happy to advise you and help your draw one up.
And when you have made your will, don’t leave it at that; talk to your loved ones about death and dying. It’s a difficult conversation, but will make decisions easier in the long-run.
Dying Matters wants to “help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life”.
We all know this will involve a big change in our society, because we do like to brush the topic under the carpet. But this change is important because, as Dying Matters says, “Changes in the way society views dying and death have impacted on the experience of people who are dying and bereaved. Our lack of openness has affected the quality and range of support and care services available to patients and families. It has also affected our ability to die where or how we would wish.”
We applaud Dying Matters and hope this week’s awareness events will raise the profile of this difficult topic.
If you would like to chat to us about writing a will and estate planning, please get in touch.