In our later years we need to plan how we will be looked after as we age, and what will happen when we are gone.
A Will is the document that determines what happens to our assets after death. For young parents, making provision for this is very important particularly in circumstances where both parents die at the same time. As we get older and our children have grown up, we are concerned with making sure that we have made proper provision for our children and that we have treated them fairly. This can be a complex task depending on the history of the family. It may not be simply a matter of leaving everything to our spouse and then to our children because there may be complicating factors, for example we may have made provision during our life time for some of our children and not others or perhaps for others to a lesser extent. Some of our children might have special needs. One of our children might have been involved in a business with us.
Very often there can be gentle pressure put on elderly people regarding the making of their Will and we provide sensible advice to them to try and ensure that the Will will withstand any challenge and is drafted to ensure that everybody is treated fairly.
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a document which ensures that should we lose our mental capacity in the future and are unable to look after our affairs, that we have appointed someone who can do so on our behalf. This ensures that our affairs can be quickly and easily dealt with by someone we trust, generally a family member. An enduring power of attorney can never be put into effect unless a doctor has certified that we are unable to look after our own affairs and there are many protections built in to ensure that elderly people are not taken advantage of.
Succession planning refers to the work involved in ensuring that our assets are passed on to our loved ones with the least amount of tax possible. There are certain tax reliefs available and our job is to advise you as to how you might best minimise any tax liability after you are gone.
An Advanced Health Care Directive is a document which sets out your wishes as to medical treatment in circumstances where you are not able to give directions yourself. These documents are generally used to give written instructions regarding medical care you would rather not have for example artificial feeding or resuscitation.
The Fair Deal Scheme is a government scheme designed to ensure that everyone in the State will be able to go to a nursing home of their choice regardless of their financial circumstances. The application involves a medical assessment to establish that someone needs a nursing home. The financial assessment then calculates the contribution that will be required from the person from their income and assets. The scheme does not require property to be sold until after the applicant has passed away.
In circumstances where somebody hasn’t signed an Enduring Power of Attorney but has lost their mental facilities, their financial and legal affairs may require that they be made a Ward of Court. When someone is a Ward of Court their financial and legal affairs are managed by the Wards of Court office under the supervision of the President of the High Court. A “Committee” will be appointed whose job it is to manage the affairs of the person on a day to day basis and liaise with the Court. They are generally a family member but in circumstances where a family member is either unavailable or there is some dispute, the General Solicitor for Minors and Wards of Court will be appointed the Committee. We have significant experience in acting for The General Solicitor in helping to manage the affairs of Wards of Court.
ABUSE OF THE ELDERLY
Unfortunately it can happen that family members or others will take advantage of an elderly person and either use their assets for their own benefit or persuade them to do things that are not very sensible. We have extensive experience in helping elderly people on a confidential basis to protect themselves against this kind of difficulty. Very often the elderly person may rely on someone for their care but this very person may be somebody who is taking advantage of them financially. We deal with these cases with great discretion.
MAKING THINGS EASIER FOR YOU
We appreciate that people may not be as mobile as they advance in age and we very often see clients in their own homes. We are also aware that computers may not be their strong point and we can help them in the old fashioned way!
If you require any advice in relation to the topics above, please contact Niall Farrell.