Care Costs, Concerns and Inheritance

15th December 2016 Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

It is a sad fact that, as many people grow old, they find their lives affected by illness and infirmity to varying degrees. Those whose health is compromised to a significant extent might find themselves relying on residential care homes to provide essential support.

The amount and cost of that care continues to be an issue of common concern for individuals in such a situation and their families as well as politicians and media.

I've been speaking to The Times as part of its in-depth investigation into the quality of and access to care for the elderly.

In particular, I have outlined my findings in relation to how prospective care bills impact on the lives of our clients as they take the sensible step of planning for their later years.

Almost every one of the men and women I speak to on the matter outline acute concerns about the cost, even going so far as to make clear their wishes to refuse life-prolonging care in the event of becoming incapacitated so as not to reduce the assets which they can pass onto their children by way of inheritance.

They are doing so in what are known as Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) documents, which allow them to appoint a representative or attorney to carry through on their intentions should they end up so infirm that they are unable to express themselves.

Such a decision is, in my opinion, something of a step change in the public appreciation of the role which LPAs can play and has proven of interest not just to The Times but the BBC and other national and regional newspapers, including the Daily Mail.

Often, someone's views on care provision are informed by the experience of a close relative or friend and by the sometimes negative coverage of the public and private care sector in the media.

Whilst awareness of how useful LPAs can be is certainly growing, there is still some misunderstanding. Myself and my colleagues in JMW's Private Client department occasionally have to counsel people who believe that the documents might allow them to dictate the terms of how they actually end their lives.

They are absolutely not a licence for assisted suicide but can provide someone with a voice in how their property and financial affairs or health and well-being are taken care of at a point in time when they cannot voice their own opinion.

If you or a loved one have questions about what LPAs are or how they might be of use and relevance to you, don't hesitate to get in touch with JMW. The future brings with it uncertainty. By adopting an LPA or making a will, it is possible to remove some of the mystery and doubt.

To discuss this or any other related issue with Paul and the team do not hesitate to get in contact.


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Joe Cobb is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning department

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