Why doesn’t everyone protect against the problems which result from not having a valid Will or Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?
The answer is three-fold.
Firstly, many people believe that ignoring the problem means that it will go away. Secondly, some people believe that they have already done everything that they need to do, and thirdly, others believe that the concept doesn’t apply to them.
Let’s examine these causes of inaction individually.
Death and serious illness are unpleasant issues to think about. However, as all humans are organic, we will ALL be affected by death, and a majority of us by ill-health either directly or indirectly, at some point. Ignoring these potential aspects of our lives simply ensures that if and when they occur, we have handed a much bigger and more expensive problem on to our closest family members instead. Think of this as like taking a huge gamble and waiting until the family home is actually on fire before considering fire insurance.
Other people genuinely believe that they have already done all that they need to do. They may not be aware that they have almost certainly only done the bare minimum, and are highly exposed to many other potential problems. The reason for this is that most solicitor firms merely do as is requested of them by their clients, and no more. As a direct result, we regularly meet children of deceased people who have been unwittingly disinherited in favour of a new spouse of their parent because of an invalid or incomplete Will. Therefore, a lack of regular review can be likened to having one sole brief dental check-up during our lifetime, then wondering why all our teeth fall out so early.
Finally, believing that Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney do not apply to us, is a dangerous route to follow. All of us have aspects of our lives which would cause difficulty and expense to others if we do not protect against them. A stark recent specific example which we encountered was a retired lady with very little income, privately renting her home in her sole name, and her son lived with her. She spurned several opportunities to discuss protecting against this risk with LPA, which would have been inexpensive for her as she receives means-tested state benefits. Unfortunately, she later suffered a massive stroke in Spring 2020. Her landlord subsequently wished to sell the property with her as a sitting tenant, however this was not possible as she, as the sole official tenant, was no longer capable of officially agreeing to this. Ultimately, earlier in 2021 her son had to vacate the property as his mother had entered permanent residential care and he had no official right to continued residence. He spent a great deal of money and time attempting to resolve this issue, but to no avail. Therefore, what began as indifference on the part of the mother, manifested in her son losing his home. LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY DID VERY MUCH APPLY TO HER.
PREVENTION AND REVIEW ARE FAR CHEAPER AND EASIER THAN CURE, AND KINDER TO OUR LOVED ONES.
TRF does NOT charge any consultation fees to review your current situation AND you are NEVER under any obligation to act upon any advice we provide. Please refer to our Wills and our Power-of-Attorney pages for further details.