Let’s not beat around the bush; by this I mean dying and all the things that go with getting older.
None of us wants to lose our independence, but giving trusted people the power to help as you get older can actually be more empowering as it means you are not fighting fires; you can plan ahead.
Everyone should have a Will, but I know there are still plenty of people of all ages who don’t have one. If you’re married and things are straightforward, that might be ok, but it doesn’t allow for family break ups, people not speaking to each other, and business interests. So everyone, no matter their age, should make a Will. Please take note: a Will is not a once-in-a-lifetime document. It should be updated as circumstances change. I changed mine in 2020 (it should have been done much sooner) and then had to make an amendment in 2021 as I became a property owner with another person. I will probably change it again this year. If it is a small change then the solicitor or Will writer who did it for you may not charge to change it.
LPAs: Lasting Powers of Attorney are also good things to have put in place, no matter what your age, but as you get older they are a must as your cognitive and physical abilities will decline. For some this will be a slow decline that’s not even noticeable, for others it may be more rapid. Even if you don’t notice them your family may well do. And they want to help you. You may feel that being in control is good, but it is not helpful to you or your family if, for instance, you stubbornly cling to dealing with your own finances but are making a hash of them or making bad decisions.
Please still get them in place even if you are in your 40s or 50s. Anything can happen, and isn’t it better that you have people you trust to look after your bank account and bills if you are unable to? And if you did end up unable to advocate for yourself for medical decisions, then it would be good to have someone you trust to do it for you.
Ideally you’ll have both LPAs, one for finances and one for health and welfare. You might not use the same attorneys for both, although many people do. I am not married and don’t have children, so I used my partner for both, another family member for the finance one, and a friend for the health one (you can have just one attorney, but it’s better to have two so you have a back up). I know that as I get older I will need to redo mine as the same people may not be able to act for me, but I would rather have them in place now. You might use your own adult children or nieces and nephews, or other close friends of a younger generation, that you know.
If you want recommendations for people to help with Wills and LPAs, we can put you in touch with good, qualified people.
And if you want to know more about how to survive as you get older do pop onto our free upcoming Zoom which is on Saturday 1st April at 10am. You can find out more and register here.