Giving the Gift of Peace of Mind
Christmas is fast approaching and many of us will be looking to the festive season to provide some joy and cheer after a long and hard time over the past couple of years. So far as Christmas presents go, the gift of peace of mind is one of the most important gifts you can give to – and receive from – a loved one.
Putting off making a will is very common, with people often not wanting to consider the fact of their own mortality. Avoiding difficult questions or making tough decisions is another reason for failing to make a will. However, by putting yourself through some temporary discomfort, you can in fact alleviate the stress encountered by your family later down the line, usually to a much greater degree. Most of us would want to do the best we can to protect our family from unnecessary stress and potential fall outs between loved ones and by expressing your wishes clearly and completely in an up to date will, you can do this.
Starting the conversation about end-of-life care or financial preferences may not necessarily be easy, but making a Lasting Power of Attorney, for either finances or health, can prove to be a positive experience.
Opening up with your loved ones about your wishes, or by encouraging a family member to do so, can not only provide invaluable insight should you need to act on your loved one’s behalf, it can also spark further conversations that may not otherwise have been started.
Should you become unable to make decisions – known as having a lack of capacity – for any reason, having LPA documents in place will mean your designated loved one can begin to act on your behalf straight away. Should such documents not have been made in advance, a legal application would need to be made to the Office of Public Guardian, which could take several weeks. During this time, access to bank accounts, and their funds, may be restricted. This could lead to the need for family members to bear any financial costs involved with medical care or treatment.
Turning your attention to a time when you may not be capable of making your own decisions, or thinking about what will happen when you are no longer alive, isn’t an easy process. However, it can prove to be a positive one for everyone involved.
Planning ahead can help to reduce decision-making burdens on the entire family – who wouldn’t want to give such a thoughtful and meaningful gift this Christmas?
Jill Waddington is a solicitor specialising in private client law at O’Donnell Solicitors. Please contact Jill Waddington on 01457 761320 to arrange a convenient appointment to discuss any aspect of planning for your future.