We’ve all been through a difficult year but with hopes for an effective vaccine and a return to normal, 2021 brings us a little optimism for the future. But 2020 also showed us how precarious and fragile our circumstances can be, and that many people haven’t considered what they’d do or how their family would be protected if the worst should happen. The threat of Coronavirus is still in our lives, along with the worrying development of ‘Long Covid’ which has left people suffering and unable to work for months after contracting the virus.
None of us want to think about the worst case scenario, but thinking about these things is a lot less scary when you know that you have plans in place to help protect yourself, your loved ones, your finances, and your living situation from future strife.
Most of us appreciate the benefits of having a will to help provide for our families when we’re gone, but what about if you found yourself unable to make decisions in the future – for example, if you were diagnosed with a long-term illness, became injured, or developed dementia?
It’s important to have these conversations, difficult though they are, and think about who you trust to make decisions on your behalf and how you’d like your affairs to be handled if you need extra support later in life.
End of life planning is something you should really be thinking about while you’re fit and healthy – any one of us could become ill at a young age, or suffer an accident that leaves us unable to handle our own affairs – and putting it off only runs the risk of missing the chance to make these decisions while you can.
Arranging Lasting Powers of Attorney – also known as a ‘living will’ – is the best way to safeguard your finances, property, health and wellbeing in the future. LPAs allow you to set down guidelines for your living and care arrangements, how you plan on paying for hypothetical future expenses, and who you’d like to make those kinds of decisions on your behalf. Without Lasting Powers of Attorney, it can sometimes be too late and too expensive to appoint an attorney after the fact – for example if a parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or a single parent becomes incompetent after an accident, or if someone with no immediate family requires important decisions to be made for them. Managing a person’s affairs can be extremely difficult from both an emotional and legal standpoint when there is nothing official in place to protect their wishes and needs, but an LPA helps to negate this and provide clear instruction for caregivers.
There are numerous reasons for why you might want Lasting Powers of Attorney in place, whether you have strong feelings about going into residential care, or have a complicated financial situation that needs careful management by a professional. If you have young children or dependents, who will look after them if you are unable to? What about if you’re divorced or separate in the future – who would you choose to make decisions for you and your children? Have you ever discussed your preferences for end-of-life care with your family? Would they know your wishes if it wasn’t written down? Having an LPA can save your loved ones an enormous amount of stress and turmoil by not leaving them with the responsibility of having to guess your wishes, or having to work around complex legal logistics to release equity, manage assets, and make decisions.
If 2020 has shown us anything it’s that none of us know what’s around the corner – all we can do is prepare as best we can and try to minimise any future complications. To set up Lasting Powers of Attorney, get in touch with us at Frances Lindsay & Co and speak to one of our experienced solicitors about your situation. Then you can go back to trying not to think about those worst case scenarios, safe in the knowledge that your future and your loved ones are protected.