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A huge thank you to everyone who joined us at Waterstones Windsor last Thursday to celebrate the launch of The Later Living Guide. What a fabulous evening it was!
The book is all about empowerment. Empowering the reader to take control of their later years and understand what they need to be thinking about, and planning for, to guide them through the good times, and the bad.
The seed of motivation for writing this book was sown in the mind of the book’s author – Teresa J. Payne – back in 2006 when her mother had been caring for her grandmother. A nasty fall occurred which meant that vitally important decisions had to be made about the future during a time of immense stress. With hindsight, if the family had been given the opportunity to plan for a situation like this, they might have taken a different route. We see this frequently in our work as private client lawyers too. Big, often life-changing, decisions are being made when people are firefighting. Far from ideal but it really doesn’t have to be this way.
We need to be aware of the options available to us so we can plan ahead.
When you think about it, we plan throughout our lives – career, marriage, where we’ll live, whether we’ll buy or rent a house, what school our children will go to, even what we’ll do if we win the lottery. Despite the chances of that being 1 in 14 million! Yet when it comes to planning for later life, we pull the covers over our heads and pretend it’s not happening. Why is that?
Our lives have 3 core phases:
Why is it that planning for the last phase is so often completely over-looked? Okay, so perhaps we’ve paid into a pension, saved a little bit, made a few investments, but have we really planned out what we want our later life to look like?
Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to face the reality of getting older. But if we look at our later years, there’s a whole life stage still to enjoy.
We often don’t know where to start either. We don’t know what we should have in place or how to make informed decisions about the future. For example, funding care and care home fees. These decisions are often taken in a crisis situation when requirements are imminent and quick action is needed. Perhaps the individual in need of the care is no longer able to do things for themselves as a result of losing capacity and therefore needs the help of a loved one to make decisions on their behalf. But what if there isn’t an LPA in place, for example?
We link later years with one foot in the grave. Yet we’re living longer and the statistics prove it. In 1840, life expectancy was just 45 years years of age. A baby born in 1914 had a mere 1% chance of reaching their 100 birthday. Yet a child born in 2018 will have over a 50% chance of reaching 100 years old. These statistics are really quite staggering when you think about it.
At The Later Living Guide launch, we were touched and delighted to have our 99-year-old client join us in the audience. She forms part of the 1% of her generation who has made it to this age. According to The Office of National Statistics however, while there are 14,500 centenarians today, this could reach over 40,000 by 2031. The reality is, people over 90 years of age are the fastest growing segment of the population in the UK.
Here’s another jaw dropping statistic for you. The DWP’s “Centenarian team” which organises the birthday card from the Queen increased from 1 member of staff to 7 in order to keep up with the growing number of ‘Centenarians’.
Other food for thought in the form of some more statistics from Age UK as to why planning for later life is so vital:
The purpose of The Later Living Guide is to start the conversation about planning our later years and help people to understand the options which are there for them.
Think about the social, financial and legal aspects of it.
Socially, where might you want to live? Will your home be suitable if you’re not so mobile? Or what will you do if it becomes too expensive to run? Will you have a support network around you? Transport links? Family and friends? What will you do with your time?
Financially, what will your income be? Do you know how big your pension is? Will you need to downsize? How will you fund any care costs should the need arrive? It’s important to understand the options and we cover this off in the book.
Then there’s the legal stuff to think about. Have you made a Will to ensure your loved ones will be looked after? Have you done everything possible to minimise any IHT payable? What about LPA’s to ensure you are able to make decisions through an attorney if required?
The Later Living Guide is a starting point for people. It’s a practical guide to finances and later living and in it you’ll find a wealth of information relating to funding care costs, understanding pensions, making a will, inheritance tax, what to do when someone dies, Trusts, LPA’s, Court of Protection, downsizing and what you can do when you retire, including making some extra cash and even starting your own business. Don’t rule that out!
This book is unique as it covers social, financial and legal issues and without our expert contributors we could not have been able to present such a well-rounded source of information for you.
On that note, we’d like to thank our expert contributors; Debbie Harris from Chosen with Care; Felicity Bunt from Senior Services, Dave Allen and Steve Wilson from 2hwealthcare; Lynne Gadsden from Grovewood Wealth Management and Sarah Reynolds from Parfitt Cresswell. We’d also like to thank some other colleagues from the Private Client Law team at Parfitt Cresswell including Toby Fountaine, Alison Courtney and Allison Tomkins for their invaluable contributions.
We hope this book inspires you to take control of your later years. Knowledge is power and it helps us stay in control of our lives and remain independent. This can only be a good thing.
To further mark the launch of The Later Living Guide, we are giving away 50 free copies. To place an order, simply email your name and postal address to email@example.com
For face-to- face advice regarding making a will, an LPA, or any legal issues that have the potential to impact you in later life, contact us today on 0800 999 4437.