DEATH remains one of the last taboos, according to new research, with people still shying away from discussing the topic with family and friends.

The survey, carried out on behalf of an East Lothian “death technology” specialist, found that one third of respondents (36.6%) were yet to raise the subject of post-life planning with their loved ones.

Two fifths (41%) said the main reason was that they felt uncomfortable talking the subject. Others said the topic was too emotional or that they felt they had nothing to leave behind.

Generally, the research found those surveyed had given very little thought to their own post-life planning, with 35.7% falling into this category, followed by 42.7% who had given it some thought.

Just over a fifth (21.6%) had either planned everything or had given a great deal of thought to their own post life plans. Of those who had given it some thought, only 55.5% had shared their wishes with other family members. The research comes as debate grows over the digital legacy left by the deceased.

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Statistics from a YouGov survey show that in the event of their death, 25% of people in the UK wanted their social media information deleted entirely and a further 26% wanted the data downloaded, taken offline and given to family and friends. Over 58% said they intended to pass on their passwords to family before they die.

The new research was carried out by Biscuit Tin, the UK’s first digital legacy vault, which was founded by East Lothian based Sheila Hogan, following the death of her parents. After the stress of having to deal with their affairs, she decided to try to make the process easier for others.

A former president of the Association of Scottish Businesswomen, Hogan launched Biscuit Tin last November with the intention of helping people prepare for their death so that family and friends would know how to deal with their affairs, including any digital legacy. The secure digital “vault” can hold important documents, account details, memories and post-life wishes and addresses the need for a secure way in which nominated individuals can follow instructions to close the ever increasing digital estate of those who have died.

Named after the old biscuit tin in which families often used to store important documentation, the digital vault can even address the more taboo issues which are often not talked about in life, for example, instructions about how to handle funeral arrangements, organ donation and guardianship of children and pets.