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Don’t die without doing these three things

Have you made plans to make finances easier for your family when you die? The answer is probably no, with a new report showing close to three in five UK adults have yet to make a will.

Not having one can put a huge amount of financial and emotional stress on your family at what will already be an incredibly difficult time. A similar number don’t have a funeral plan or a list of different financial providers, bank accounts and arrangements.

The Family Finances report from insurers Aviva also found just under half of parents have a plan for childcare should they both die. However only 14% have it written down and 13% haven’t even discussed them with anyone.

To help make things easier for your loved ones when you’re gone, there are three simple things you can do.

Make a will

A will sets out exactly how you want your money, property and possessions to be distributed when you die. Without one, the law decides who gets what.

That can mean your unmarried partner might not get anything, or could even be forced out of the family home and struggle to support your children.

If you’re married, all your assets will automatically go to your partner but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also have a will. Having one will make it easier for everyone to sort everything out, and can stop different parts of your family feeling left out.

If you have children it’s even more important as you can include your plans for their upbringing and future financial support.

Write a list of all your accounts, bills and policies

From bank accounts to borrowing it’s easy for you to build up a number of different financial products over your lifetime. To help those left behind know if you’ve left behind any savings or debts make a list of them all.

Don’t forget to include:

  • Current accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Any investments
  • Pensions
  • Credit cards
  • Loan agreements
  • Mortgage
  • Insurance policies
  • Bills

Talk about your funeral

The Aviva report also found two thirds consider the subject of death off the table, so we don’t speak about what we want when we die.

Yet, being clear about your wishes, particularly around your funeral will help everyone to know what you want. So if you don’t want a big burial let your family know. You can also put this information in your will.

There are also funeral plans where you put money aside now to avoid rather than your family having to pay for it with the money you leave them.

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  • Margaret / 3 April 2016

    Helpful info but I would add that there appears to be little or no mention of exactly what happens in the event of something terrible happening and no Will has been made but the individual concerned is still very much alive but is truly incapacitated.

    Nowadays, there are 2 parts to a Will. They are health and well being (1) and (2) financial. If somebody becomes incapacitated and they have not done a Will then I am afraid you come up against not being able to do anything (you cannot even view the bank account to pay bills etc). You then have to get a Solicitor and they together with you will go through a legal process and costly too, by applying to a very secret Govt Dept known as the Court of Protection. It is also time consuming apart from being stressful.

  • Wendy / 1 March 2016

    Thank you for this article on three things to do before you die! It has made planning for this in the future much easier. Many thanks to the team who put this article together.

  • Simon Hulme / 23 February 2016

    I really appreciate all of the money advice emails & thank you.

  • Karen Dronfield / 17 February 2016

    My mum recently died and amongst her papers was a notebook headed "When I Die" she had listed who we needed to notify, and a bit about her past as well as her music preferences for her funeral. It was a great help to us all and I think such a loving gesture that she was thinking of us and making things easier for us even after she had died.

  • alvin / 11 February 2016

    Very useful informationand

  • David Wheeler / 10 February 2016

    I have paid for my funeral,I was 52 when I did it, I am a bachelor with no children.I am being buried in my parents grave,I have chosen my coffin and what hymns are to be sung.I have made my will also and everyone involved are happy with everything that I have done,so I have no worries.We must all realise the fact that we are going to die,and the sooner we organise the better for all the family.

  • Melissa Owens / 9 February 2016

    My mother was fit and well one minute: and told she was riddled with cancer and had only weeks to live the next. Although she had a will she hadn't identified a named Power of Attorney in case she became unable to manage her finances or her health wishes. And we were shocked to discover that it could take 4 months to put this in place: longer than she was likely to live. Apparently people are expected to anticipate this in advance but I doubt many people have thought about it. I hadn't and will certainly be amending my will now, accordingly

  • The Unicorn Lady / 8 February 2016

    My Dad passed away recently and had done most of the things suggested - wills, encoded passwords, financial papers filed correctly. Its been so easy to sort his estate out, he thought of everything to make it easy for my Mum. His passing also helped us talk about what we want at our own funerals and making sure we have provision for them.

  • Maryscully@mobitelnet.lk / 8 February 2016

    What is an holistic will and is it valid

  • Miles Sneath / 8 February 2016

    The above article says that a married partner will receive everything if the other spouse passes away. This may be the case if there are no children but if there are children then the spouse would receive all the personal assets, the first £250,000 and half of anything over £250,000. The other half would go to the children.

  • Kerry Langdon / 8 February 2016

    It would be useful to have information regarding organising DIY funerals and what is legally required when someone dies - many people could handle the organising and therefore cut down on costs.

  • Ray Baldacchino / 7 February 2016

    If you do any business online, include in your list of accounts etc., all your online/e-mail accounts, i.e. addresses and passwords, so that your executor can access them. Your e-mail account(s) will in turn contain references to other online accounts you hold. Needless to say the list should be left in a secure place but not so secure that it is too difficult to find!

  • Paul Twomey / 7 February 2016

    Thank you

  • Simon Palk / 7 February 2016

    A friend of mine has recently died unexpectedly at a relatively young age. One of the problems his widow is having is that she does not know the pass words to his computer or i phone were important information is held, bank account details etc. It occurred to me that such things should be considered along with details of savings, investments and so forth. It could save a lot of bother.

  • Mary dunford / 7 February 2016

    All good advise and something everyone should not be afraid to talk about as we are born and eventually will die. I would think that having lasting power of attorney a good idea or is it? Handy to know your thinking on this we are pondering on this now in late 60's early 70's

  • Ken Butterfield / 7 February 2016

    Very good but no mention was made of Lasting Power of Attorneys.
    My wife and I have set these up for peace of mind. Who knows when you're going to lose your marbles? Who cares when you've got a LPA in place?

  • Mark Evans / 7 February 2016

    I think the Money Advice emails and blog articles are great, they provide lots of relevant and important information like making sure you make a will with lots of practical advice and help.