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Planning for old age still an uncomfortable subject

For most of us who are somewhat past our days of early adulthood we generally find ourselves in one of two camps.

One is the grown up child with ageing parents, the other, an elderly parent with adult children.

In both cases the subject of old age and its effects concerns all the family but unfortunately, difficult conversations about what may lie ahead are rarely had, leaving great difficulties for loved ones when problems land at the door.

Two such subjects are the making of Wills and loss of mental capacity.

It is estimated in numerous studies that at least half of people in the UK have not made a Will.  Why is that, when we all know that death is one of the two certainties in life!

Many assume that their spouse/partner or children will inherit anyway so there is no need, but this may not be the case.  For a reasonable sum, a solicitor can give you the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes will be carried out and your loved ones taken care of.

It is also estimated by the NHS that one in three people over 65 will develop dementia, potentially leaving no one able to manage their financial affairs or make healthcare decisions on their behalf.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005, allows us to choose someone (an Attorney) both to manage money and make medical decisions for us, at a time when we cannot do this ourselves – through what are known as Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).  Putting them in place is a sensible precaution.

Your Attorney(s), can make decisions for you, even after you have lost mental capacity.  However, LPA’s must be set up while you are still able to make decisions.

As a long established firm of solicitors, we are frequently asked to deal with the affairs of those who have lost mental capacity without having made LPA’s.  This leaves their families having to apply to Court to manage their loved ones affairs through a much more formal process.

That process, applying to become a “Deputy” is not straightforward, is vastly more expensive than making an LPA and can take many months to set up. Legal expertise to guide the family through the process is beneficial but could be avoided if more people faced up to what may lie in store, sooner rather than later.

Based on our experience, we would urge the public to please face up to what the future may hold. Making a Will is vital and discussing the benefits of Lasting Powers of Attorney with a legally qualified expert – a sensible precaution.

Very few of us want to dwell on our own demise or vulnerability in years to come, but we owe it to our loved ones to face up to it and take action. Those who get their affairs in order early on are taking a wise approach to issues which affect more and more of us, with people living longer but sadly, not always in good health.

As solicitors we can help you plan for the future with confidence.  The Private Client department at Dale & Newbery has over solicitors with over 50 years combined experience and our head of department is a member of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) and the Law Society Private Client Section.