Death and taxes are the two certainties in life. Whilst we can’t prevent either from happening, we can be prepared.
The benefits of ensuring that your paperwork is in order, and that it reflects your current wishes, are frequently underestimated: peace of mind comes from knowing that your loved ones will not have to tackle complicated legal matters in addition to coping with grief.
As a young widow, Emma Gray, an Associate Solicitor in our Private Client office, believes that being prepared ensures you can have the “best death possible”.
“My late husband was only 38 when he died of oesophageal cancer,” said Emma. “He left me and our two young children emotionally at sea. However, the energy he put into organising the paperwork around his death was inspiring. As well as having an up to date Will, power of attorney and Advance Directive / Living Will, he also left behind letters, gifts and memory boxes for all three of us. This meant that he died peacefully surrounded by those he loved.”
Although, as solicitors, we do not assist with personal notes or emotional things such as memory boxes, we can ensure that clients are not afraid to talk about death and dying and have all their legal paperwork in place. As Emma says, “Ensuring that your legal papers reflect your wishes means that you can put aside legal concerns and get on with living the rest of your life and spending quality time with your nearest and dearest. My late husband managed to do this and it gave him the freedom to spend precious time doing a great ‘bucket list’ of activities with our young children, happy in the knowledge that the paperwork had been taken care of.”
Previously, Dying Matters week has addressed the question ‘What Can You Do?’; this year the theme is ‘Are We Ready?’. The key things we recommend clients deal with as soon as possible are:
- Ensure you have a Will and it is up to date;
- Ensure you have Powers of Attorney for your finances and welfare;
- Record your funeral wishes;
- Tell your attorneys your wishes and how to manage your affairs, if needed; and
- Plan your future care and support, and document it in an Advance Decision / Living Will.
Solicitors in the Everys Private Client department are based in all our offices in the South West: Exeter, Exmouth, Honiton, Seaton, Sidmouth and Taunton. For more information on how we can assist, please click here.