The fact is we have an ageing population – healthier lifestyles and medical advances mean that people are living longer. We are also ‘wealthier’ than previous generations – more people own their own houses, have shares or savings, but all too often they have not put provisions in place to deal with their affairs – either after they have died, or while they are alive but unable to cope themselves.
Statistically, 70% of population do not have a will in place to say where they would like their assets to go when they die. Yet having a valid and up to date will is the only way to ensure that your hard earned assets pass to the people you choose, and is especially important in situations where there are no children, second marriages, step-children and other family issues. You can also use your will to address issues such as inheritance tax and care fees. With good advice, they are generally straightforward and relatively inexpensive to have drawn up and provide peace of mind to both you and your family.
Whilst living longer is a benefit of the modern age, older people may sometimes feel confused and vulnerable to the fast changing world around them. Making decisions about our own lives is something we take for granted. However, there are a range of events and issues that could affect our ability to make important decisions either on a temporary or a permanent basis, including dementia, stroke, mental health problems, brain injury or the side effects of medical treatment.
What you cannot do is see into the future – you have no way of knowing if or when an accident or ill health will strike, but if it does who would deal with your affairs on your behalf and who would make decisions for you when you are unable to yourself? What you can do, is to plan ahead to ensure that the right people are stepping into that role, by drawing up Lasting Powers of Attorney enabling you to choose who makes decisions on your behalf in the event that you cannot do so yourself, and there are two types:
- A Property & Affairs LPA allows your chosen attorney/s to make decisions on your behalf in relation to your property and money – that is your attorney will be able to do anything with your finances that you would be able to do.
- A Health & Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions when you cannot in respect of things such as medical treatment and where you live. You can even authorise your attorney to accept or decline life sustaining treatment on your behalf.
If you do not have an LPA in place and you lose capacity, your family will not automatically be able to make decisions for you and they may have to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy. This can be a highly distressing, expensive and lengthy process.
Our Team at Maxwell Hodge have a wealth of experience in both advising and preparing Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. We understand that the process can be a very challenging and emotional experience and we will ensure you not only receive a professional service, but a caring and informal one too.
Don’t waste money on poor advice – make sure you consult an expert – call us today.