Obviously, it’s a big “Yes!”. It is vitally important to plan ahead for your family and loved ones to help in the event of illness or to deal with issues after your death. Yet it is something that is often put off and the delay in planning ahead can make it very difficult for those we love. The time to make plans is when we are healthy and thinking clearly about the future, because it may be too late after an illness has affected your ability to make decisions.
Planning ahead in case you can’t make decisions on your own:
- Make a lasting power of attorney for health and welfare– to name a person or persons whom you would want to make decisions for you about your health and welfare when you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. This would include whether to give or refuse consent to medical treatment on your behalf and deciding where you live. It can also cover more day-to-day issues such as your diet and your daily routine.
- Make a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs– to name a person or persons whom you would want to manage your finances for you when you are unable to do so. This can include paying your bills, collecting your benefits or other income, or selling your house and is subject to any restrictions and conditions that you decide to put into it.
- Express your wishes– about the treatment and care that you wish to receive. If you don’t want certain types of treatment in the future for example, if you do not want to be kept alive with medical life-sustaining treatment you can make legally binding advance decision.
- Make plans for healthcare and long term care– Residential care costs are estimated at £20,000 – £50,000 per person, per year. If you become seriously ill and need to move into a care or nursing home and you own assets worth more than £23,250 you will be expected to pay all of those costs yourself. A Local Authority, when assessing the value of the assets you own will look not only at your savings and investments, but also at the value of your home.
Careful planning can help to reduce the burden.