How quickly life can change…

Peace symbol in the sky

It’s International Peace Day on September 21st, something the world desperately needs after recent developments in Afghanistan.

Despite keeping a military presence in the country for many years, both UK and US troops have now evacuated. Within days, normality turned to uncertainty; daily life for Afghanistan citizens was suddenly filled with fear and terror. It’s shocking how quickly the situation escalated.

It’s easy to look back and criticise decisions made when you have hindsight. Perhaps the Western world could have done things differently, maybe the current position was nailed on to happen from the outset…who knows? And that’s the point, no one knows what’s around the corner. No one has any guarantee that they’ll be sitting here this time tomorrow.

Crystal ball cannot predict the future

People of a certain age will remember Mystic Meg trying to predict the National Lottery numbers on its programme every week (though, surely, if she really could have predicted them, she would have filled in her own ticket and won the jackpot herself). Whether you believe in such things as psychics and mediums, there is no sure-fire way of predicting the future.

And it’s because of this that future-proofing solutions and protection policies exist, in the form of funeral plans and wills, for example. You’re essentially playing a reverse lottery so that you don’t LOSE money—you’re ensuring your family’s income/situation is impacted as little as possible if your ‘number’s up’, colloquially speaking.

It’s the same premise for Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) agreements. It’s not straightforward once a loved one has lost mental capacity, which is what happens with conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. For an LPA to give your entire family peace of mind, and so that they’re straightforward and of help to your situation, they need to be put in place early on. This is a discussion you should have with elderly loved ones and friends/relatives with degenerative illnesses earlier rather than later; it’s a better conversation when everyone can be rational and the finer details can be comprehended easily.

If diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s are featured on the television or in films (which is some people’s only knowledge of them), they’re often depicted as advancing more rapidly than in real life. Whilst this sounds like a positive and may suggest that you have plenty of time to arrange an LPA, this is often not the case. Because the disease affects most people subtly to begin with, symptoms are not easily detected; they’re often brushed off or easily explained away. By the time a diagnosis is sought, the disease can be quite advanced, and arranging legal authority over the individual’s estate could be more stressful than it needed to be, had the LPA arrangement been in place earlier.

We don’t like to think of older relatives, such as our parents, as being mentally or physically incapacitated. They brought us up, they’re the ones we’ve always turned to if we needed help and support…they’re invincible, aren’t they? The sad fact is: ageing cannot be stopped. Taking control of their finances and care plans with an LPA protects them from unscrupulous people who prey on the vulnerable. You can also ensure your loved ones receive the best, most appropriate care when they themselves don’t recognise what this should be.

According to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice who was in position when LPAs were first introduced in 2007, ‘we all know how important it is to plan for the future. Having a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)…in place should be as common and natural as making a will.’ Yet less than 1% of people in the UK have one.

These things exist to make our lives easier. All you need to do is apply some forward-thinking.

Call Ruth Wilson on 01226 107111 or email for more information, or to book an appointment to discuss making a will, arranging a funeral plan or putting an LPA in place.