Our Oakhaven team is here to help you by offering support and guidance on how to start the conversation about your future care with those close to you.
With constant news updates about the coronavirus, many of us may be feeling anxious about our own loved ones and may even be reflecting on our own mortality.
At Oakhaven, we aim to encourage and support everyone to talk openly about death and dying. This may be a painful topic, but having practical and honest conversations with each other now may reduce the worry that those close to us feel in the future.
For example, if you have always been responsible for the household’s finances and you should suddenly become ill or die, this lack of information could cause further distress to your loved ones.
Everyone, not just those who are ill, should consider planning ahead and take the time to sit down with a pen and paper or at the computer and compile a list of important information. This could include bank account details, gas and electricity providers, mortgage or rent details and where passports are kept. These details could make a real difference to the people closest to you.
If I don’t have an Advance Care Plan, will my family be able to make decisions about my care and treatment?
Your Advance Care Plan is a not a legal document but it does offer the opportunity to nominate someone that you would like to be included in discussions if ‘best interests decisions’ need to be made.
You may not realise but those closest to you have no legal right to request or refuse treatment or care on your behalf; only a legally-appointed Lasting Power of Attorney for health and wellbeing can do this. Should you wish to appoint a Power of Attorney you will need to complete the necessary forms with the help of a solicitor, either for health and welfare matters or for property and financial matters. You must have capacity and the process can often take up to 12 weeks. For more information or to contact the Office of the Public Guardian on 0300 456 0300.
Making a Will
Another way of planning for the future is to make a Will, this way you can make sure your loved ones are looked after when you are gone. Oakhaven urges everyone to make sure that they have an up-to-date Will which reflects their wishes.
Having a Will ensures that your estate and your possessions are distributed in accordance with your wishes.
There are a number of ways that you can do this. In some instances it may be best to use the services of a solicitor, or you could complete your Will using an online service. Our legacies page offers helpful advice on ways in which this can be done.
Having a Will is important if you have children or dependents, if you are unmarried or are not in a registered civil partnership. Cohabitants (partners who live together)are not automatically recognised as having the same rights as spouses or civil partners which may mean that do not benefit from your estate if you have not made a Will.
In your Will you can:
- Appoint a guardian of your choice to look after any underage children
- Provide for children from a previous marriage or partnership
- Appoint executors to carry out the administration of your estate - either family members, friends, or a professional such as your solicitor
- Remember family or friends with a keepsake or a financial gift
- Remember your favourite charities
- Detail any particular funeral arrangements, for example, cremation or burial
- Information about writing a Will is obtainable from a solicitor, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or from the Government’s ‘Making a Will’ website