Tuesday, 21 Sep 2021

App tells you what could happen to your loved ones if you died tomorrow

It's an uncomfortable topic to think about, but we're all going to die someday.

Often people avoid thinking about their own mortality until the very end stages of their life, when they know that death is certain, and just around the corner.

But life isn't always so constant. If last year has taught us anything is that life is full of uncertainties. At any minute you could be thrust into a catastrophe, either on a global scale or just for you personally.

One way that people can be prepared is by setting up their own last wills. This will ensure that all of their assets go to the right people should anything tragic happen.

In the UK, two in three adults have no will or protection in place, and it's partly this staggering figure that spurred the creators of a new internet tool to get to work.

FRisk is a free intuitive app that can produce an individualised FRisk Score (a bit like a credit score), confirming the level of risk that your family and loved ones will be likely to face if you were to die without effective planning in place.

Generating a FRisk score will help you to discover what you need to do in order to protect your family, or if you’ve already begun planning to ensure that you’re on the right track.

Martin Holdsworth, founder and MD of Frisk Reports and IDR Law Solicitors, set up the free report service after years of experience of helping families whose loved ones have died without planning ahead.

Martin said: “I have been dealing with the resolution of family disputes following the death of an often close relative for over 25 years. Cracks between siblings expand to gulfs without the common ground of a shared parent.

“What you leave behind after you die matters, even if you are not around to see it. Having dealt with thousands of disputes on death over the years, it is not difficult to see patterns emerging. The vast majority of disputes arise because of a lack of communication and planning for death.

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“Invariably this stems from a simple lack of knowledge of what exactly happens to everything you care about on your death.

“The reality is that everyone, and I mean everyone, would benefit from getting planning and protection in place. Do you know what happens to your children on your death if they are under 18 at the time? How about your organs? How much tax will your estate have to pay? Your share of your home?"

Martin also mentioned that planning can also ensure things like your Facebook and Instagram accounts are kept in safe hands and any online services. After all, we know the passwords for everything in our phone, but does anyone else?

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“Anecdotally, it will not surprise you to hear that many of us actually create a will in response to a mortality event that hits close to home – the death of a loved one, friend or perhaps a serious illness survived.

“Do we really need personal distress to give us the momentum to get things sorted?

“This started a train of thought three years ago – how can we personally communicate to everyone what the effect of their own personal death would be on those they leave behind?

“If we could personalise this warning (without actual trauma) and then provide an instant link to organisations that can actually help put the right protection and planning in place, then that could work couldn’t it?"

This is when the Frisk concept was brought to life.

Sandro Forte is the co-owner of Frisk Reports and managing partner of Forte Financial LLP, who experienced shockwaves in his personal life that lead him to join forces with Martin in setting up Frisk Reports.

Sandro said: “In 1976, when I was just seven years old my dad, Leo, was diagnosed with lung cancer. I don’t in all honesty, remember his two-year battle against a dreadful disease – but I clearly remember what happened after he died in 1978, leaving my mum, Carol, a widow with four children…and I was the eldest."

Sandro's father assumed, like so many, that his assets would automatically pass to his wife, so he made no handover of his business, no life assurance and significantly, no will.

Sandro added: “Within two years of my father’s death my mum was declared bankrupt, unable to maintain the large house in which we lived or service the rising costs of looking after a growing family.

“By the time I was 13 we were living in a council house and really struggling. That was also the year my mum remarried, and Dave became my stepfather. He was an incredible role model and really helped to shape my life; he was, without doubt, my best friend.

“When I joined a financial services firm in 1989, following three years at university, I was presented with an opportunity to discuss financial planning with my mum and Dave.

“But I did what so many of us do; I procrastinated, believing there would be a ‘better time’ to discuss what I knew was a bit of a ’taboo’ subject. It took me two years to find the courage to have that discussion but, as a result, we put a sound plan into place in December 1991.

“In February 1992, just two months after we had set everything up, Dave was diagnosed with a very aggressive stomach cancer and died just six weeks later.

“Since then, I have been on a mission to ensure as many people as possible know about the importance of financial planning – even in its simplest form it can literally save a family from financial ruin.”

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