The Death Conference – my talks
Following on from my earlier blog, I was very honoured to be asked to speak at Wendy Coulton’s “Elephant in the Room” event at Plymouth Central Library on 27 & 28 March 2015.
The conference was aimed at getting the conversation going that death is part of life, which it is not a taboo subject and it is fine that we talk about it.
Wendy asked me to speak twice, so after discussion with her, we agreed that I would split up my talks into pre-death and post-death legal issues.
So what did I say in my pre-death talk? It was about talking with the family, getting some preparation done, which in the end makes it easier for anyone grieving and left behind afterwards.
I split the talk up into dealing with the situation if you have mental capacity to make decisions and if you don’t. So if you have mental capacity, create Lasting Powers of Attorney, so that your family and loved ones can take care of you if you ever lose mental capacity. And don’t forget to make a Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney, all too often people worry about their money, but not themselves. LPA for Property and Financial Affairs allows someone to make decisions about your financial assets, which is important; you still need to get your bills paid. But don’t forget about an LPA for Health and Welfare, this allows someone to make medical and social care decisions for you at a time when you cannot make them for yourself.
As well as Powers of Attorney, make a Will, so that your estate can pass to wherever you want it to go after you have died. And the final message was to leave your estate in order. If you have paperwork, keep up with your filing, keep it all in one place, let you family know where your paperwork is and if you are willing to share some details, let them know some information about your estate, such as which bank you use. If you don’t want to share that information, just let them know where they can find that out.
If you are unlucky enough to lose mental capacity before your arrangements have been made, then your family will need to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order, so that they can manage your affairs on your behalf. This is a much more complicated process than creating LPA and much more expensive, with ongoing costs, however it is not impossible and therefore the message is that although it is best to make arrangements, if you haven’t the situation can still be managed.
Thank you Wendy for getting this important conversation started.