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Planning ahead for an uncertain future
Article date: 10/09/2014
Older people are more scared of developing dementia than they are of getting cancer, according to a recent survey.
Two thirds of people over the age of 50 said they were afraid of getting dementia, while just one in 10 said they were frightened of getting cancer.
With this in mind, leading law firm Higgs & Sons says getting it right when planning ahead is absolutely crucial.
Annabel Kay, a Private Client lawyer with Higgs who advises specifically on wills, powers of attorney and care home fees planning, says: "The effects of dementia can be devastating, not only for the individual affected but also for their family.
"The fear of losing the essence of what makes us who we are combined with the inability to continue to manage our own finances is truly a frightening concept. However, with assistance, individuals can continue to lead full and enriching lives.
"In our experience, many people say that a diagnosis of dementia, cancer or any other medical condition often brings a sense of relief as well as opening doors to well organised services and advice. A diagnosis can act as a spur for thinking about how to tidy up the loose ends of our personal planning."
It is estimated that there are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK but as demographics change and the nation ages, it is accepted that this figure will rapidly increase.
The care and capacity team at Higgs & Sons regularly deals with individuals and families coming to terms with changes in personal circumstances through illness or accident, assisting individuals on three important considerations.
Powers of Attorney: Making a Property & Financial affairs lasting power of attorney enables you to choose one or more relations, friends or colleagues to act as your "attorneys" to make decisions for you should this situation arise. Also making a lasting power of attorney for Health & Welfare decisions will save a great deal of heartache not to mention expense should a condition such as dementia take hold in the future.
Will: If you do not have a will, you do not decide what happens to your assets; the statutory rules of intestacy will apply. These rules rarely result in your assets passing as you would wish. A properly drafted will ensures your assets are transferred to the recipients you intend. It can also assist in protecting your assets for the future.
Funding care needs: Getting familiar with how the local authority assess fees for care either at home or in a care home is time well spent. A lot of myths surround paying for care and we can provide you with the facts. Like with all things, planning is key and knowledge of the facts is powerful.
Annabel added: "At Higgs & Sons, we understand that it is often difficult for individuals to find the time to put their personal affairs in order, and doing so can often seem a low priority when dealing with pressing medical issues.
"With this in mind, we will tailor our approach to suit your needs and those of your family. We can take your instructions in whatever way best suits you; at your home or by phone, video conference or in person at our offices."
If you would like more information on wills, powers of attorney or on steps that you can take to protect yourself in the case that the worst happens to you, please contact Annabel Kay on 0845 111 5050.
Higgs & Sons boasts more than 100 specialist lawyers at its office on the Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill.