The probate registry tell us that as many as 52% of people die without ever making a will. I think this demonstrates a reluctance to think about or discuss death and related matters with our family members. The organisation says “Talking about dying won’t make it happen”.

You should make a will as this makes arrangements after your death easier for your family. In the event of your death without having made a will then your estate will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules. These rules may not carry out your wishes.

You should include in your will instructions for your funeral arrangements. This is important for your family at a time of bereavement when they may have difficulty in thinking clearly..

There are also benefits in making lasting powers of attorney in relation to both property and financial affairs and health and welfare. I know from my own personal experience how important it is to have these documents in place in case you should suffer any ill health and especially if you should suffer from any kind of dementia.

We may believe that as relatives we have an absolute right to make decisions about the care of our loved ones. This is a misconception that can cause difficulties for medical professionals especially where relatives have conflicting opinions about what that care should be. A health and welfare lasting power of attorney would make those decisions easier for the medical professionals as well as for your loved one and their family.

Most of us can easily think of at least two people who they feel they can trust to make the right decisions if they lose capacity although they cannot easily predict what those decisions might be. It is sensible to appoint two people who can work together. If you act as an attorney then this can sometimes be a daunting task and it will seem less so if you can share that task with someone else. If you were just to appoint one attorney and that attorney should die or fall ill then problems would arise.

If you would like to talk about your later life planning then please can contact Anita Whelan at Dixon Stewart. She is a qualified Legal Executive and is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly. Solicitors for the Elderly is an independent national organisation of lawyers who provide specialist legal advice for the elderly, vulnerable, their families and their carers. She holds an Older Client Care Practice Award. To make an appointment to see Anita then call 01425 621515 or e mail Anita’s assistant on