Discussing later life planning is a sensitive subject for many as proved in a recent survey by consumer guide Which? - it revealed that 71 per cent of people have no plans in place for the eventualities that might occur at this stage of their life.
According to the research, only 29 per cent of people had done any planning at all.
Graham Fuller, a Senior Associate in our Wills, Probate and Lifetime Planning team, outlines the simple measures you can take to prepare:
There are several things you can do to reduce the burden on your loved ones in later life and two key steps include making Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and having the right type of will in place.
Planning ahead ensures you and your loved ones can retain control of later life decisions including those surrounding medical and social care if there ever becomes a point when you can’t express your own wishes.
If you don’t take action, decisions could be taken outside of the control of your loved ones and that are not in accordance with your wishes.
One thing you can do is draw up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). If you don’t have an LPA, decisions about your finances would pass to the Court of Protection and social services or medical professionals would make medical and care decisions leaving your family with no legal say.
There are two different types of LPA – one for property and financial affairs and the other for health and welfare. Attorneys can be the same for both or different as you wish. If you choose more than one attorney, you decide whether they can act together or separately.
If you are concerned about care fees, having the right type of will in place is a priority. Without advance planning, your assets may be used to pay for your care instead of passing to your loved ones.
Couples are in a unique position to protect their assets from care fees by making an asset protection will that could shelter half your assets from being used to fund health or social care.
Above all, there is one simple message to remember – taking advice from a legal professional will enable you to make informed decisions that will help you and your loved ones stay in control.
* If you want to know more about the care system and later life planning, hear Graham speak at our next care seminar at the Mayfair Community Centre in Church Stretton on May 8 – places are free. For further events, click here.
Graham deals with a broad range of matters including wills, powers of attorney, care fees, tax planning and probate. He is a full member of the Society of Estate Practitioners and Solicitors for the Elderly and is currently studying to become a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate solicitors.