A crucial task that shouldn’t be put off!

A crucial task that shouldn’t be put off!

Posted on August 21, 2019 at 9am

All too often, we approach retirement with the hope of many years ahead of us to enjoy holidays, spend time with grandchildren and do the things we have spent years dreaming about.

The more organised of us will have saved for our retirements, invested savings in order to provide a further income should we need it and may have even put money aside for the grandchildren.

Then over the years (or even before retirement if we’re really unlucky) our health deteriorates. We may even avoid seeking advice as we deem it unnecessary, we’re busy or are too unwell or not mentally capable of being able to make decisions about our finances.

Then sadly, the worst happens and we pass away. In an ideal world our property and the money we’ve left behind would pay for our funeral expenses and a jolly good send off with the remainder passing to those we love. Sadly, this is not always the case especially if you haven’t put a Will in place or kept it up to date as relationships, finances and family situations have changed.

Furthermore, before you passed away, if you were unlucky enough to have become mentally impaired or unable to communicate due to Dementia or Parkinson’s, etc it may be very difficult and stressful for your loved ones to arrange the care you need or manage your finances and family home for you. What happens if your spouse is the one suffering with worse health than you, but you’re the one that looks after them, and you become mentally incapable or pass away before them without either of you having given permission for your finances and healthcare to be dealt with by a loved one? Imagine your family being unable to do right by you or your spouse, because they don’t have authority to do so. The stress and emotion at such a difficult time is bad enough even with permission having being granted.

Having lost three grandparents and a father in law in the last year, and having being an executor to two of their Wills, I know only too well how hard and stressful it can be to deal with an estate when a loved one passes away. Sorting out all the finances, emptying the family home, distributing the assets fairly and/ or dealing with family members who question every decision made. That’s all aside from the grief you are battling with. Imagine having to deal with all of that but being unable to distribute the estate where it was intended to go, because an up to date Will wasn’t in place – having to try and navigate the legal and banking systems to try and do right by your loved ones. It can take months or years to finalise all matters.

That’s why it’s imperative that you not only arrange a Will (remembering to update it as necessary) but that you also put in place Lasting Powers of Attorneys for both health and finances, giving permission for someone you trust to deal with matters on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so yourself.

Although, it is possible to arrange both Wills and Lasting Power of Attorneys yourself, I would strongly recommend seeking legal advice to ensure you get the best possible advice and that the documents would stand up in court, if needed.

Written by Kay Crooke – Associate Practice Director at Prosser Knowles Associates Limited.

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