Although it is a New Year and I should be looking forward death is very much at the forefront of my mind at the moment. Just before Christmas I was invited to St John’s Hospice to see the beautiful lights and hear about the work and fundraising done by the hospice in order to be able to support people diagnosed with terminal illness and requiring palliative care. One of these fundraisers will be Wirral Rocks featuring Status Quo in May. I saw them at the Echo Arena last year and they were great.
Legends that Status Quo are and immortal as they may seem since Christmas there has been a never ending list of the deaths of others who seemed immortal as I grew up; David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Lemmy and Phil Taylor from Motorhead, Glenn Frey of The Eagles. It doesn’t seem to be a good time to be in your sixties at the moment but having said that I’m also aware that death and illness can come at any age. Sometimes it comes shockingly out of the blue and other times we have advance warning. The one thing we can all do is plan both for what happens to ourselves and for our family.
A Lasting Power of Attorney can be made to appoint a trusted person to look after health and welfare decisions. This can be linked in with an advance decision statement that can be made specifying which treatment a person would want to refuse, when and under which circumstances. These can help family cope with worries about what the future holds for treatment and mean the trusted person can be party to discussions and decisions. They are suitable for patients living with a terminal illness, including all forms of neurodegenerative conditions, cancer, heart or respiratory failure, kidney and liver failure. They are effective with loss of capacity such as dementia, head injury, stroke resulting in coma or diminished state of consciousness.
A different type of Lasting Power of Attorney can be made to deal with property and finances again appointing a trusted decision maker to step in when capacity is lost. These can help remove financial uncertainties and can mean if capacity is lost quickly the attorney can step in and make decisions in the best interest without fear of reprisal and arguments within the family.
Making a will is also important as often my clients come to me with scenarios where a will is necessary to ensure their wishes are met, a trusted person is appointed to ensure that and to ensure the intestacy rules don’t apply. I’ve helped people recently in these types of situation :-
- “ I have not spoken to one of my sons for decades after a falling out. How can I make sure he does not inherit an equal share with his brother?”
- “I don’t have any children. I would like to give my friends something and then look after the niece and nephew I am close to.”
- “ I have a daughter I know will take control, interfere and remove my furniture and jewellery. How do I stop this? “
- “ I’ve been living with my partner for years but we are not married. I thought she was my common law wife after two years but now someone has told me that is a myth so how do I make sure she is looked after when I die?”
When someone dies I provide help with obtaining the Grant of Probate and dealing with the estate. It can be hard suffering through the grief caused by bereavement and having to go through the stress of paperwork on top. This can be made worse if there are potential disputes or difficulties within families. I can give sensitive and practical support to make this easier and to work through uncertainties and concerns.
Wolf Law Solicitors, Champion, Arrowe Brook Road, Wirral CH49 0AB. – 0151 375 9955. www.wolflaw.co.uk