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It can be a shock for people to discover, only on the death of their parents, that they have effectively been disinherited and it can seem like the ultimate cruel shock.  Often there is no obvious reason why the decision was taken which makes it even more difficult for potential beneficiaries to understand.

The UK is different from many other countries in that you are allowed to die with millions in the bank and not give a penny to your child.  In France, by law, you have to give your children a proportion of your home whereas here you can leave everything to the Cat and Dog Shelter, as long as you made the decision in sound mind.

While you many not owe your children money, I think you do owe them honesty and should not be affronted if they ask what your plans are.  It's sensible for them to know and can mean a lot less arguing down the line.  This means being very un-British and talking about it directly.  No hints or cryptic statements - just specific conversations so that everyone understands what is going to happen when you die.  You don't have to seek anyone's opinion or permission, just warn them so there are no nasty surprises.

Research out this week looked at the high proportion of parents planning to give to their children unequally.  This suggests that these 'awkward chats' need to start happening.  The research suggests that a third of parents haven't openly discussed their will, so a lot of brothers and sisters are likely to fall out and a lot of parents will end up leaving a legacy of hurt and tension - not exactly what most would hope for.

Wills are the last communication you have with the people you love.  This communication doesn't have to involve lots of money - a note or an item of sentimental value reminds grieving people that they were loved.  Not communicating anything at all can feel desperately cold.

Have you had the awkward chat yet - if not, what are you waiting for?