Not having written a will can impact the people left behind when someone dies, as Alex Delaney discovered when her husband died suddenly aged 34. In response, she founded Lemons.life, a company that helps you write a will online in just 20 minutes. I spoke to her to learn more.
Lemons.life has developed a digital platform that guides people through will-making. For £90 for a single will or £125 for a couple, it's considerably more affordable than a High Street solicitor, which Delaney explains can cost as much as £600.
An unrepresented consumer audience
The company's core audience is young women in England and Wales, a cohort that is largely underserved in financial, life, and after life planning. No one wants to think of dying,
But it's interesting considering women are most likely to take on caring roles, looking after children and elderly parents.
As Delaney explains,
"There aren't that many companies specifically targeting women. So we're going for between 25, and I've just moved in with my boyfriend, up to early 50s. And that's an underserved population."
She asserts that
"As women, we have to take responsibility for the fact that we don't always get involved in these kinds of conversations and put them on the back burner.
One of the reasons Lemons.life was founded was to kickstart these conversations because "the earlier you tackle these issues, the easier it becomes to grow this product as you go through life and your responsibilities change."
To get women talking about death and estate planning. Lemons.life partners with financial platforms and services targeting women.
Married vs de facto (unmarried) are not equal
I was surprised to learn that not all people are equal under inheritance law.
In the UK, people in civil or de facto partnerships don't have an automatic right to digital or financial assets, property or belongings. If your partner owned the house, you could be left struggling if they die unexpectedly.
Delaney explains, "If you are unmarried and you share a property, that will cause huge problems if it's unclear, and it's not written down on a will because your wishes may simply not be regarded by the law."
And this is significant when you consider that last year, people born in the UK to unmarried parents surpassed married people.
In the worse case, if you are unmarried, and your partner dies without a will, your adult children could legally kick you out of your home or other family member could seize your partner's assets.
According to Delaney, there's been an increase in disputed wills since the pandemic, especially as the cost of living crisis leaves many left behind struggling financially. And it's not only about what happens to your stuff.
The company has recently branched out to offer online applications for lasting powers of attorney. This lets you appoint someone (a trusted family member or close friend) to help with your medical needs and finances should you fall ill or become incapacitated before you die.
While your first thought might be someone to make decisions for you when you get old and get diagnosed with Alzheimer's, COVID brought the issue to the forefront for many young people who ended up in comas from the virus. It follows that wills and LPAs should be living documents that are regularly updated. Delaney shared:
"You look at your home insurance yearly because the premium goes up. And it's boring, dull, and everyone hates it, but you do it. And that's the culture we want to see around, especially if you divorce or have kids."
A digital-first approach to death planning
The digital-first approach reflects a fundamental shift in how people make decisions.
Today's death tech is facilitated through sleek websites with no pictures of doves, the colour purple, or italicised text. Instead, we see graphic, factual, and transparent. Processes are transparent, with space to ask questions without talking to someone on the phone.
According to Delaney:
We are witnessing a biggert appetite to shift how we communicate around death. No one wants black horse-drawn carriages anymore and pallbearers dressed in black.
We're seeing a generational shift from that kind of Victorian sentiment to how we can pay respects in a dignified, warm, and relaxed way. And part of that is considering what a person leaves behind."
Lead image: Mufid Majnun