How true that old phrase is. Particularly when it describes the all too frequent unexpected circumstances that clients find themselves in without the protection of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA).
For example, take the story of one of our clients.
A 65-year-old athlete who was still running marathons and competing in triathlons.
He said: “Not a chance that we’ll need anything like that!”
Several months later, his wife was admitted to hospital for open-heart surgery. When he visited her bedside, he was shocked to see the tubes running in and out of her. Feeling queasy, he excused himself.
Walking unsteadily away, he thought for a minute he was going to be sick.
Then he fainted, smacking his head on a window ledge in the process.
“Luckily, our daughter lived locally. Otherwise, we would have had no-one else to keep an eye on both of us in hospital.”
Then what? Just weeks later their daughter left the UK for a permanent post in South Africa.
Another client had rebuffed the idea of an LPA for two years before he found himself visiting both his wife and his son in hospital – both with life-threatening conditions.
“Every time I went to see them, your words kept coming back to me”, he later said.
“I realised then that it’s not necessarily what might happen to me, but what could happen to the people I love.”
Drawing clients’ attention to the need for an LPA can be problematic.
Many do not want to think about the possibility that at some point in the future they may be unable to make decisions for themselves.
If only we knew what cruel fate might have in store for us.
We would stop prevaricating and get it done.
The clients that readily accept that they need the protection of an LPA are often those that have been involved helping an elderly relative.
Typically, they say that they do not know how they would have coped without relying on the Power of Attorney.
Despite all the faults of the old Enduring Power of Attorney, it was still better than nothing.
“Without it, we would not have been able to pay the household bills, we would have ended up paying for everything from our own money, plus all the medical bills.
“We are not sure legally where we would have stood in claiming it all back.”
One day, a lady requested a meeting with me after attending one of our seminars on protecting families.
She very much enjoyed our talk, but made the point that we didn’t really express the pain and shock of coping with life when your partner of many years is no longer there beside you.
“One minute he was there, the next minute he was gone. A car accident. He was in a coma for 18 months before he died.
“I was sent some papers by the Court of Protection, but I didn’t know what to do, so I tried to get an appointment at Citizens Advice.
“You wouldn’t believe how long I had to wait. I found the whole process bewildering; after all I was still in shock.
“We had written our wills, so we thought we were well prepared. Then this accident out of the blue – nothing prepared me for that. So please, next time you do your seminar, tell them my story.”
If you would like to protect your family and have a confidential and frank discussion on Lasting Powers of Attorney, please contact Ruth on 0118 934 7920.
But bring a brolly – just in case!
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