What is Death Positivity? 0

Death positivity is an attitude towards life and death that emphasises the importance of open and honest discussion about death and a re-familiarisation with end of life processes. Rather than treating death as something that should be hidden away and not talked or thought about, death positivity argues that individuals should take a more open approach to death, break down the taboo surrounding the topic and not shy away from the difficulties of thinking and talking about it. In recent years, death positivity has become increasingly popular, even solidifying into a burgeoning movement of activists and practitioners that hope to spread the message about death positivity and what it can do.


What death positivity is not

Death positivity does not involve the glorification or trivialisation of death, nor does it consider it a good thing. Instead, it preaches that death is an inevitable part of life that we all will experience at some point. It does not aim to force people toward a certain perspective or world view, but does encourage an open approach toward the subject of death. Death positivity is not associated with any single organisation or religious authority and can be considered more of an attitude than a doctrine or rigid set of beliefs.


Why is death positivity important?

For many, the taboo surrounding death prevents them from openly discussing their feelings or grieving in a way that suits or benefits them. This taboo means that we often hide death away and don’t confront it directly – an attitude that can have profoundly negative effects on our ability to make essential end of life choices and ensure everything is prepared for someone’s eventual passing. The fear surrounding death can lead to individuals bottling up emotions and thoughts that really do need to be released, potentially making a tough time even more difficult.


While everyone must be allowed to grieve in their own way, death positivity is about removing barriers to healthy grief; with the intended consequence that people are able to deal with the challenges and trials of bereavement in a constructive way.


Many also find that choosing to take on a more positive attitude when it comes to mortality can liberate them from anxiety when it comes to their own death, and as a result feel that they are free to make the most of their finite lives.

 positive attitude to death

Why is death positivity emerging now?

The attitudes reflected in the philosophy of death positivity are hardly new ideas. They are ideas that are re-emerging now as a response to modern society’s detachment from death. As medical treatment and methods have improved over the years, death has intruded less on our everyday lives and we are not faced with its reality as regularly as past societies would have been. This has resulted in a detachment from the reality of death and a desire to avoid it as a topic. Similarly, the way in which we respond to death (our end of life customs and traditions), have changed significantly, limiting our exposure to death even further. The death positivity movement has emerged in an attempt to provide some perspective on death and to encourage greater interaction with the issue.


What can you do?

Although there are a number of organisations, such as The Order of the Good Death, which provide a more focused outlet for the ideas of death positivity, it’s more akin to a state of mind that can be adopted by individuals at any time than it is to a movement which you can join. You can start by beginning to talk with loved ones about their end of life wishes and asking a number of important questions. For instance: Do you have a will? How do you want to spend your last moments? What kind of funeral would you want? What do you think happens after death? These are a just a few ideas but are a good place to start if you wish to open up discussions about death. There are also death cafes around the country that allow individuals to talk openly about mortality. If you or a loved one is approaching end of life, you may wish to enlist the services of an end of life doula. A doula can often be an enormous source of comfort for someone who is unwell.

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Do You Need a Will if You Are Married? 0

Do you need a will if you are married - man and woman holding hands

Do I need a will if I am married?

It’s a question we hear a lot. And, being in the will writing business, perhaps it’s unsurprising that our answer is almost always Yes, you do. We would say that, wouldn’t we?

But for most people, married or not, a will really is an essential step. Especially as time goes on and your family grows. 

So, what’s the deal with marriage and wills? What happens if you die without a will? Here’s what you need to know.


Do you need a will if you are married? 5 things to consider…


1) Without a will, your spouse might not inherit as much as you’d think

A lot of married people put off making their will because they think their partner will inherit their whole estate anyway. 

And don’t get us wrong: if you’re married and you die without a will, your spouse will reap some substantial benefits. You might want to remember that the next time you put off taking the bins out. But (contrary to popular belief) they won’t necessarily get everything – it all depends on your family and the size of your estate. 

So, your spouse may well get your whole estate. They may not. Either way, you should still make a will. Why?

If your spouse inherited your estate and then remarried, their new husband or wife would be entitled to all or most of their estate in turn.

2) Leaving your estate to your partner isn’t always the best idea…

However much you love your husband or wife (and we’re assuming it’s a lot – if not, step this way…) you still might not want them to inherit everything you own. 

For example, you may prefer to leave most of it to your children to make use of, or set some funds aside for your parents’ care as they get older. You might want to make sure a few family heirlooms go to your siblings, or leave personal gifts for your close friends. To do any of these things, you need a will.

One other thing to think about is remarriage. If your spouse inherited your whole estate and then remarried, their new husband or wife would be entitled to their estate in turn. In the end, this could cut your children off from inheriting anything at all.


3) Remember, a will is about more than just money

If you have children under the age of 18, a will is essential. Why? It’s the only way to have a say in who would look after your kids if you died.

With a will, you can name guardians: people you trust to raise your children with the same care and values as you. Without one, the local council or a family court will decide for you. They might even choose someone you and your kids don’t like – like the uncle who always brings up Brexit at the dinner table.

The same goes for pets. With a will, you can choose pet guardians to look after your furry (/ scaly / feathered) friends. Without one, your pets might be left homeless. Who will scratch Fluffy’s belly when you’re gone?


4) Inheritance tax is out there … waiting …

Anything you leave to your husband or your wife in your will can’t be taken in inheritance tax.

Inheritance tax (or IHT) isn’t due on every estate. But if it is due (and property owners need to watch out here) it is taken at a rate of 40% of everything. Ouch.

With a will, you can control what your partner inherits from you – and limit how much (if any) IHT is due. They’ll also get your unused allowance, letting them pass on up to £650,000 tax-free. Win-win.

When someone dies without a will, their family loses £9,700 on average in lost assets.

5) A will can save your family a lot of worry

We often underestimate how reassuring it can be to know that a loved one’s wishes have been followed. With a will, your family can be sure that they’re doing the right thing with your legacy. It can also prevent arguments: things can be settled fairly, averting a bitter feud over who-got-mum’s-engagement-ring.

The other thing to think about is how complicated your estate likely is. Have you told your family where all your pensions are kept? What about stocks, shares – all those other little assets you pick up over time? When someone dies without a will, their family misses out on an average of £9,700 in lost assets. You can prevent this.

And don’t forget, Beyond can help

It costs just £135 for you and your partner to each make wills on Beyond. And it takes just 15 minutes to get everything sorted. No lengthy visits to a solicitor’s office, no hassle: you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.

Make your will today!

Separated, but Still Married? It’s Time to Write Your Will 0

Wedding rings on a log

Recently separated? It’s time to make your will!

Not because your ex is lurking around the corner with a knife, waiting to knock you off (although, who knows?)

But there are very good reasons to write a new will now, and make your wishes official. Let’s take a look.


What does separating mean for your estate? 

Nothing. Not-a-thing. Zip. And that’s actually the issue.

If you died now, before your divorce, everything would be treated in the exact same way as if you were still happily married.

Have a will that leaves everything to your ex-partner? That’s still valid. They will still get that money (and your property, and your belongings). Even if you’ve already moved out and moved on. Whether or not they will make a bonfire of your things and dance around it naked is up to them.

Haven’t even made a will yet? Your spouse is still entitled to the lion’s share. If you don’t have children, they will get everything. If you do, they will still get up to £270,000 of your estate, half of what’s left over (if anything), and all your belongings. Including any beloved family heirlooms.

So, dying without making a new will now, can mean that all of your estate will go to your ex-partner. Even if the two of you are splitting up on the friendliest of terms, it’s not ideal – especially if you’ve met someone new.


Isn’t it a waste of time and money to make a will now (you ask)?

Not at all. It’s easy enough to make a simple will now on Beyond, and update it after the divorce comes through. And it costs just £90.

With Beyond, you can write your will online, print it off and get it signed in as little as 30 minutes. No hassle, no trip to the solicitor’s office required. 

After that, you can log back in and update your will anytime. Unlimited updates are free for the first year and £10 a year after that.


And, of course, there are other reasons to make a will…

Let’s face it: you knew you had to make a will some time. It’s the responsible thing to do. And, at the risk of sounding like your mum, there’s no better time than the present.

Remember, a will is the only way to:

  • Leave your money, property and belongings to the people you choose 
  • Protect your children, parents and new partner (if you’re there yet)
  • Leave presents for friends who have supported you
  • Avoid a (potentially nightmarish) inheritance tax bill
  • Prevent nasty family spats
  • Change the world for the better with a charitable gift


Ready to make your will? Step this way

At Beyond, it costs just £90 to make a will from the comfort of your own sofa. 

Every will is checked by our in-house experts, who are on hand to answer your questions every step of the way. And it takes less time than reheating a frozen pizza. You can even do both at the same time

So, why wait? Click here to make your will today.