More often than not, when we engage with potential beneficiaries about a deceased person’s estate, they have no idea that their relation has died. Some entitled relatives are not even aware of the person in question, whilst others may have known of them but not kept in close contact, for whatever reason.
In the twentieth century, people became far more mobile (and even more so in this century). Families grew apart by virtue of their migration choices and many of our cases have a US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand element to them in some fashion. If your family moved to the other side of the world in the 1950/1960s, it would have been much harder to keep in touch with your UK family than it is now – modern technology makes ‘Down Under’ seem much closer but I am pretty certain that the physical distance remains the same!
In recent weeks, there have been a number of our beneficiaries who have expressed both sadness and guilt in regard to their relative’s passing. They feel that they should have: done more to keep in touch; wished that their parents hadn’t made the life choice to emigrate; regretted not trying to find their relative…. Life can be full of regrets but what we always say to beneficiaries is that they can only really feel any guilt if they have made an active decision (which they now regret making) not to contact someone in their family. Many people just do not realise that their cousins are out there if, at their parents generation, the family were not close. If I hadn’t been keen to investigate my own family history, I would not know half of the cousins, second cousins etc. who I am in contact with now.
Guilt – according to Wikipedia (so, it must be right!) – is closely related to the concept of remorse. What do you feel guilty about? What do you need to put right before it’s too late? Is it time to put those wrongs right….?