As Dying Matters Awareness Week draws to a close, Coodes Partner Louise Southwell explains why it is so important to have difficult conversations about your wants and plans.
“Death is still a taboo subject and many of us don’t even like to talk about getting old. Events like ‘Dying Matters Awareness Week’ do an important job of trying to break the taboo. The reality is that the sooner we talk to the people closest to us about what we would like – and not like – to happen to us at the end of our lives the better. Not only does it make it more likely that we will get the treatment that we would like, it can also take a huge amount of pressure off our loved ones.
“None of us knows what will happen to us in the future, but it is a good idea to start thinking about where you would like to be cared for when you get older, or if you fall seriously ill. Would you prefer to be cared for at home, in a nursing home, in a hospice or in hospital? If your family knows your wishes, it gives them the best chance of making the right decisions for you.
“Many of us could, at some point, lose the capacity to make important decisions about our finances, medical treatment or where we live. While you are still well, think about who you would like to choose as your attorney, under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), and talk to them about your wishes. Your attorney can make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to, as a result of illness or injury – even something as important as whether or not you would want to receive life-sustaining medical treatment after a life-changing event, like a stroke. Without a legal attorney, this decision will fall to a health care professional and that those loved ones you would wish to have a voice may not be heard.
“A properly drawn up Will is not only the best way to ensure your loved ones inherit your key assets. It is also the ideal place to record your funeral wishes – whether or not you would like a religious funeral, or if you would prefer to be buried or cremated. You can be as specific as you like and many people take this opportunity to write something to be read at the service. A Will is not just for monetary value assets, like property and investments, it can also include those sentimental items that you would like to leave to special people in your life. You may even wish to go further and leave personal messages or letters to loved ones with the Will.
“We are all different and by having these conversations you can help to make sure that the end of your life reflects your own individual wants, needs and values.”
For further advice and assistance on any of these issues, please contact Louise Southwell at Coodes by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01736 362294.