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The old proverb ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is never more appropriate when considering addressing your personal legal problems.

We in the Wills, Trusts and Probate team at Gorvins are actively trying to inspire our clients and potential clients, at whatever stage they are in their lives, to act on the above proverb. To coin our own catchphrase we are encouraging people to ‘Act On It’ and get their affairs in order for the future whilst they can.

Needless to say the best time to put affairs in order is when you are fit and well. It is not wise to start this process when you are in a stressful situation or facing a crisis, be it a recent diagnosis of a critical illness, an impending financial problem or an acrimonious relationship breakup.

Repeatedly, we are called to help and assist individuals when they have hit a crisis;  for example a family member may have developed dementia and the concerned caring relative may have also fallen ill, rendering them unable to cope their own needs and the needs of those who they are caring for.

Death is often seen as a taboo subject and so too is the issue of dementia. Hopefully, with the Dementia Friends campaign and the government’s commitment to more research and development into dementia, this topic will no longer be a taboo. We are living longer and healthier lives and most of us are insulated from the effects of declining health, however, a lack of preparation for declining health will only compound the crisis if, and when, it arrives.

Case Study: Lasting Power Of Attorney may save you money in the long run

One gentlemen, Mr Jones, came for help in obtaining a Deputyship Order on behalf of his wife, who was suffering with dementia. In a touching thank you note for the help he received, he said very simply that we had taken him from ‘chaos to calm’.

Despite this, to have crossed over the bridge from ‘chaos to calm’, cost Mr Jones several months’ worth of anxiety, until the Court of Protection granted his deputyship application. Resolving this sticky situation after his wife had lost mental capacity resulted in much higher legal costs; far more in fact than it would have cost to have made a Lasting Powers of Attorney before his wife fell ill.

Mr Jones has now prepared himself should his own health decline, having made a Lasting Power of Attorney in favour of his children and a Will suitable to his circumstances.

Dementia in the news

Dementia and related conditions are never out of the media these days as so many people are impacted by the illness. Last week, the British Medical Association (BMA) was asked to investigate and review the rules on driving by a person who has been diagnosed with an impairment of the brain, such as dementia.

It will be interesting to see the results of this investigation. For some people having to surrender their driving licence can be very traumatic, professionals, family and friends need to very tactful in broaching the issue. However, the safety of the driver and other road users and pedestrians have to be the most important consideration in deciding if someone is safe to drive.

A person has a duty to inform the DVLR if they have had a diagnosis of an illness that may impair their mental capacity. Failure to notify DVLR may incur a fine of £1000, as well as invalidate the driver’s insurance. Having a car accident in these circumstances could result in substantial damages against the driver, possible leaving them significantly less to pass on to their family.

Act On It – Get your affairs in order

The terms of the new Government’s budget will be known this week and it is predicted that there will be some favourable changes to Inheritance Tax, especially with regard to the family home.

When the details and small print are known and understood, it may be appropriate to take professional advice to get your affairs in order and benefit from any favourable changes in the budget that may affect you. To contact our expert team call us on 0343 507 5151 or email actonit@gorvins.com.