Looking out for loved ones this winter
Wintertime can be a very difficult time for the elderly who are more vulnerable in the winter months. It is a sad fact that every year approximately 20,000 more people aged 65 years or over die during the winter months.
Ways to assist the elderly:
- Keep an eye out for illness or unusual behaviour
- Keep them warm. Older people take longer to get warm than younger people and lose heat more quickly
- Offer a helping hand
- Speak to/spend time with them. Winter months can lead to isolation and loneliness
- Suggest they review their Wills and Powers of Attorney
Typically, as solicitors, we see a surge of new enquiries during the winter months in respect of our elderly client services. Unfortunately many of these enquiries are made by family members seeking advice because a family member is suffering from a form of illness or mental capacity which quite often means it is too late for us to be able to assist without making application to the Court.
To make matters easier for family members and for the elderly person themselves we would suggest that their Wills are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up to date and accord with the wishes of the person making the Will.
Without a lasting power of attorney in place no one is authorised to make decisions on behalf of someone who had lost mental capacity either through trauma of the brain or a disease such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s; This means that family members (even spouses) cannot make decisions about medication, care, life-sustaining treatment or any health and welfare matters. It also means no one (including spouses) can make decisions on financial matters such as paying bills/care home fees or selling property to pay for care; in this case an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection this process can be very lengthy and costly causing a lot of distress to the family in what will already be difficult circumstances.
Cunningtons can assist by offering a free review of Wills to ensure they are up to date and discuss the importance of having a lasting power of attorney with your family members.
If you have any queries or wish to arrange a mutually convenient appointment, please do not hesitate to contact Bryony Wilmshurst, partner and head of Private Client department on 01367 567280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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