Is time for a heart to heart with your nearest and dearest?
Following on from our recent blog regarding a spike in will-related enquiries it seems that now is also the time to be thinking about getting several affairs in order.
According to the Law Society, there has been a 70% increase in those who are looking to either change a will or draft a new one. Most of these enquiries are coming from older people, concerned about their increased risk of serious illness in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, as people start to make their wills a priority, it’s also important to consider a Lasting Power of Attorney - or LPA. These are important documents that outline any wishes you might have for any medical treatment. It also nominates an individual, or an attorney, who can look after your financial affairs for you, such as pay your rent or any bills whilst you are unable to do so yourself.
Having practiced law in this area for some years, I know better than anyone how difficult these conversations can be. No one likes to plan their death and it’s probably the reason why more than half of us still die without leaving a will. But, in times like these, necessary conversations need to be had.
Don’t just take our word for it. In a recent news story on the BBC Cardiff University professor for palliative medicine, Baroness Finlay, is urging everyone to consider what treatment they would want if they fell ill and tell their families about any wishes they have if they pass away.
She said these conversations are even more necessary now. “People thought they could plan for everything” she said, “but we’ve finally realised that we live with uncertainty all the time and it’s confronted us head on.”
Whilst I have dealt with a multitude of families over the years looking to make their wills or write LPAs, it is rare that someone came to see me just because they felt like it. Normally, there is a motivator - a sudden illness or a change in circumstance. Whilst we are living in unprecedented times, it all boils down to what’s important to us - and that’s why these difficult conversations need to be had now.
Think about any treatment you wish to receive. Do you want to go into hospital? Do you wish to be put on certain medication? Think about any financial implications if you become terminally ill. Who will be responsible for your bank accounts, paying bills or looking after any dependents?
You must let people know now so that things can be put in place for you.
It’s important to note that an LPA will protect your wishes whilst you are alive, whilst a will can do that after you have passed. You should have both in place to ensure that you are looked after and that your family can have peace of mind too.
We are here to help and support you and your families both now and in the future. Sadly the pandemic has made us all feel vulnerable and realised the need to do what we can for our families and each other.
If you would like any information about writing or changing our will, or you would like to know more about a Lasting Power of Attorney, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.