Why we’re afraid to have conversations about death

Find out why so many of us are reluctant to have conversations about death, and why it’s important to be prepared.

Conversations about death can feel uncomfortable and challenging, with new research conducted by Legal & General revealing over a third of Brits avoid discussing end of life preparations altogether.  

The research surveyed over 2,000 people aged 16 and over across the UK to understand the how comfortable people are with discussing death and end-of-life preparations, how this varies across different generations, as well as the arrangements they have in place to protect their loved ones financially.

Why we’re not comfortable discussing death 

The survey revealed a trend in the attitudes of young people. 63% of respondents aged 16 to 24 disclosed that they have discussed death and end-of-life preparations with their loved ones, the highest percentage across all age groups.

The research highlighted the emotional and practical significance of discussing death openly and honestly. While 63% of respondents reported having had conversations with their loved ones about end-of-life preparations, a substantial 34% admitted to having avoided these discussions entirely.

When asked why they avoid having these conversations, the primary reasons given were ‘not feeling the urgency to talk about it yet’ (43%) and ‘being uncomfortable discussing’ death (42%). Additionally, 26% respondents chose ‘fear of the topic’ as the main reason they avoid discussions about death. 

Why it’s important to be prepared

37% said they’d encountered legal or logistical difficulties at least once when handling the affairs of a deceased family member or loved one. 

The practicalities of death had a particular impact on young people. A majority (57%) of bereaved 16-24-year-olds said they’d experienced legal or logistical challenges – pointing to the importance of having clear conversations prior to anything happening.

Of these younger respondents, many were also well prepared compared to older generations. When asked what preparations they’d made for their death, 17% of 16-24-year-olds selected “designating beneficiaries for life insurance or retirement accounts” – the highest of any age bracket.

Who are already making arrangements?

65% indicated that they haven’t taken any steps towards arranging their funeral. Among those who have taken measures, 34% were male and 27% were female. 

Looking at different regions, the North East displayed the most significant proportion of individuals who have proactively made a funeral plan, with 43% having done so, followed by Greater London at 37%. Conversely, Wales had the smallest percentage of individuals who reported having made preparations for their funeral, with only 21% saying they have planned ahead.

It’s never too early to start taking about death

Open and honest conversations about death are a crucial step towards securing your loved ones’ financial wellbeing. Our survey underscores the shifting attitudes of younger generations, who are leading the charge in embracing these discussions. 

For those open to having these conversations, it’s never too early to communicate and a clear plan of action can make a world of difference in times of need. We are committed to providing solutions that empower individuals to protect their families’ futures for people at all life stages including Over 50s Fixed Life Insurance.

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