Systems and processes- not just for business but essential to give your life a happy ending
Recent revelations about the late Lynda Bellingham’s widower reportedly depriving her so
ns of their inheritance brings home the importance of not only making a Will but ensuring that:
1. your Will reflects your true wishes 2.document in detail personal wishes and information those left behind will benefit from knowing
Although Lynda left her entire estate to her late husband Michael Pattemore recent news coverage leads us to believe she trusted him to follow through with her wishes to ensure her sons received their rightful share of her estate. It appears that this has not happened. Her Will is now being contested and will undoubtedly turn in to a messy, stressful affair.
So what is going to happen to your estate after you have gone? Hopefully you have made a Will, updated it regularly and also been specific about who should get what. You have? Well that’s great but have you thought about all the other aspects of your life that you probably take for granted your loved ones will know exactly what to do about?
Worthy Conclusions works with bereaved families/partners helping them to finalise the formalities of their loved ones life. We do not deal with legal matters but the more practical personal tasks that need to be completed. Sometimes the loved one left behind doesn’t know where to start, doesn’t want to start or logistically is unable to start on that inevitable list of chores.
While helping families sort through hoarded paperwork, distribute legacy gifts, oversee property maintenance and such like I have lost count of the number of times they ask themselves “now how would mum/dad have wanted this dealt with”, “what would mum/dad have said in this instance”, or “I have no idea how to access mum/dad’s email account”. I soon came to realise that no matter what their background or circumstances were the same questions were being asked time and time again. All too often you hear people say “I don’t care what happens to me/my possessions when I die, my family can do what they like, I’m not going to be here to worry about it”. The sad thing is they think that they are being helpful, reality is that second guessing what their loved ones ‘would have wanted’ causes people so much additional stress and worry at a time when they just need space to mourn. A common response in feedback from clients who have experienced this is that they intend to leave more information about their own affairs to make sure their families will be better equipped and need less guesswork to deal with their affairs; which neighbours hold spare keys to the house, location of that secret hiding place or just to make sure they know which brand of food the dog prefers!
When I was asked to speak to a group of people about ‘planning for death’ my thoughts went to what I have learned from my own and my clients experiences. What useful information could I give these people keen to make plans for death because more often than not their families were unwilling to talk about ‘THAT’. I compiled a list of all those things people always say they mean to jot down but never seem to get around to. The list grew and developed and eventually became a workbook, a tool kit providing a process to follow, a place to document the detailed information that family/executor will eventually need and find invaluable plus ‘nice to know’ things that will keep part of a person’s history alive such as who their friends were at infants school, notes about their wedding and other memorable moments.
It is not until we lose someone close that we realise there is no-one left to answer all those unasked questions and a little bit more of our family history disappears forever.
That first group went away with their own workbook, their own ‘toolkit’ to complete a process for their loved ones to eventually follow. They also went away happier knowing that once ‘THAT’ has been dealt with they could get on with enjoying their lives.
Systems and processes are not just for business they are essential to give your life a happy ending for all concerned, particularly if you or your loved ones can’t face having ‘THAT’ conversation.