‘I’m really sorry that I have to tell you…’

Can you imagine if you got a call to say a loved one had died?

Really hard to take. So many thoughts, emotions, tears, fears, race through your head as you process what's happened.

Then 'what happens next?' enters the situation as fear can take hold and concerns for those affected come to the fore. Can you imagine if the person that dies is of working age, with a family, commitments? Who's paying for them? Who's going to support them?

Money is an issue at these times and when you're with your family at a weekend, you want them to feel safe and secure, knowing that if something happened to you, or your partner perhaps, that they would be financially cared for. We could verbally paint many sombre 'what if?' pictures at this stage, and I am sure, if you have a family, you have given this some thought and taken action. Or have you?

So, what to look out for so that you have taken some action?

First, the (possibly) free stuff:

  • Check any employment contract you have, to see if your employer gives you life cover, for example 2/3/4 times your salary as a Death-in-Service benefit.
  • Look for how long your employer would pay you if you were unable to work due to ill health.
  • If you've got a pension (and many more now will), make a nomination on this with the provider to ensure that your loved ones will get the money if you died. This goes for any current pension plan you have, and any old ones.
  • There is a free Pension Tracing Service if you can't remember where your pensions are and a link to this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details
  • Make sure that your partner does the same.

In addition, make sure that you always try to maintain some immediate access savings, to ensure that the family have got some access to cash in the very short term. Be careful, because in the event of a death and its notification, bank accounts and investments are usually frozen, and this can also cause problems.

The not so free points:

  • We always suggest that someone has a Will in place, to make the administration of an estate easier and to ensure that it's distributed as you would want. Your Will can be a simple or as complicated as you like, and this is usually based on your financial circumstances. Whatever you do, try to have one in place.
  • Think about life cover to cover debt costs and leave a surplus above this to make sure that the family will really be OK if you went early. The costs of life cover and the way it can be tailored can vary to suit most budgets.
  • And if you have no health cover from work, have a look at what you might want to do.

The notes above are not exhaustive, but take a look at what you could do, or maybe what you should do!