If you’re one of the 60% of UK adults who still have yet to make a will or set up lasting powers of attorney, it’s high time you stopped putting it off and got it done! Making decisions about your end of life care needn’t be time consuming, expensive, or a morbid exercise, but it will help to safeguard your future, your family’s future, and give you peace of mind you didn’t even realise you were missing.
But if you’re still not sure, can’t be bothered, or think it’s not important, here are ten questions to ask yourself.
- Who will look after your children or dependents if you die or become unable to care for them? Who do you trust to take care of your children and make decisions about their wellbeing, living arrangements and education on their behalf?
- Who do you want to inherit your assets and estate when you’re gone? Family, friends, children? If you don’t appoint specific beneficiaries, there will be no clear instructions for how to distribute your assets.
- Who do you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so? One of the main reasons for setting up lasting powers of attorney is to leave clear instruction and appoint executors to carry out your wishes.
- What are your preferences for health care if you cannot give your consent? A health and wellbeing lasting power of attorney provides guidance for how you’d like to be taken care of if you became ill, injured, or lacked the cognitive ability to make decisions for yourself.
- What are your preferences for funeral arrangements? Even if you don’t have any strong feelings about your funeral, it can be helpful for loved ones to know the basics so that the probate process is easier all round.
- How do you plan on paying for a care home or healthcare in the future? Do you have property that could be sold to pay for care costs? A pension? Savings? Your executor will need details and access to these in order to provide for you.
- What are your preferences for living arrangements if you are unable to care for yourself in the future? Would you rather be cared for in your own home or a professional facility? What about hospice care? Setting down these kind of instructions helps your loved ones to know how to proceed if they have to make decisions for you.
- What if you have no relatives to claim your estate? If there is no will, or you have no immediate family, your estate may be passed on to your local authority. Consider naming friends or other recipients on your will to ensure that your assets are given to people you know and love.
- Do you want to include a donation to charity in your will? Don’t assume your family will know what you want to do with your estate – put everything down in your will so it’s clear and easy to distribute your assets.
- And if you decide not to make a will or set up lasting powers of attorney, do you really want to leave all these decisions to someone else? Dealing with probate or applying for powers of attorney after the fact can be extremely stressful, time consuming and expensive if there are no official documents in place. So think about the people you might leave behind and try to make things as easy and straightforward as possible for them.
These questions are just a starting point and your circumstances will obviously have their own unique requirements, which is why it’s so important to get expert advice from a trained solicitor who can help you to figure out how best to protect your family and your future with a professional will and lasting powers of attorney.
To get started, make an appointment with one of our experienced family lawyers at Frances Lindsay & Co and finally tick making a will off your to do list.