Over-55s ‘in dark’ over financial impact of bereavement

Over-55s are currently in the dark over the financial impact that bereavement could have on them, Key Later Life Finance has warned.

This comes as research by the equity release adviser indicated that nearly one in 10 (9%) over-55s fear they will have to move house if their partner dies.

Key’s research was based on a study among 1,000 people over the age of 55 who are married or in a long-term relationship. It found that over three in 10 (31%) married or cohabiting couples have never discussed what will happen to their household income if one of them dies while 62% revealed they have never taken any legal or financial advice on estate planning. Around one in five (18%) have no financial plans at all if one of them dies.

A major issue highlighted by respondents to the nationwide study was a lack of knowledge about their partner’s pension and what benefits they will receive when their partner dies. One in four (25%) revealed they will receive nothing either because their partner does not have a pension, or they are not the named beneficiary.

Just over half (54%) of respondents know they are the named beneficiary on their partner’s pension while just 46% believe they and their partner are equally well-prepared for retirement.

“Talking about death is clearly an uncomfortable subject and when you add money into the conversation it becomes even more uncomfortable,” said Key CEO, Will Hale.

“However, bereavement is sadly inevitable for all of us and being prepared financially with intentions made clear in a will can be some comfort particularly when so many people believe they could be forced to move home as a result.”

Key has urged over-55s to think carefully about later life financial planning, including ensuring that their will is up to date with their intentions made clear. The adviser’s research has also shown that around two out of three (67%) own their home outright with no mortgage.

“Talking about the financial impact of bereavement is an important first step and seeking independent legal and financial advice can help people be prepared in the event of their partner’s death,” added Hale.

“Accessing property wealth can be a vital lifeline for remaining partners to stay in their home and support their later life aspirations.”

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