There is something that I'd like to share with every reader of this blog article whether they are relatively young or very old:
Make a will and 100% make sure you have created a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
If you own a property and have even the smallest amount of savings you owe it to your nearest and dearest to organise things so that there is as little stress as possible. If you have a partner then each appointing the other is a good idea or your children may be the right people, or a brother or sister but you never know when you will be struck down in such a way that you are not capable of running your financial affairs and personal care. The national statistics for road accidents, heart attacks, strokes etc should serve as a pointer as to why this action is necessary.
You may have guessed that I'm speaking from personal experience and indeed I am. My 83 year old mother finally ended up in hospital after worrying me for some time. Her condition was brought on by a series of mini-strokes and these have left her with vascular dementia which is an incurable problem that will only get worse over time. We, in conjunction with our solicitor, have been battling with the newly formed 'Office of the Public Guardian' http://www.publicguardian.gov.uk/ (which replaced the Court of Protection on 1st October last year) to get access to funds in order to pay for her care in a home specifically for her condition. The order for this has only just arrived to allow an 'interim' payment and the actual court date will not be until mid-February 2008.
It is, in my opinion, an unfortunate fact that if you have savings, have bought your own home, have a personal pension over and above the state old-age pension then you will have to pay for your care until your money and assets have dwindled to £21,500. If you work on the basis of very nearly £600 per week then you will realise just how quickly everything you ever worked for will evaporate. On the other hand if you don't own a bean or live in Scotland then don't worry, you certainly won't end up with less than you have now and you will still get the care. A somewhat concealed fact is that it doesn't stop at £21,500. After this point is reached they continue to take about £5 per £100 worth of care costs until you are down to £13,500.
If you are reading this then you are obviously used to dealing with the web so follow this link and have a read.
You may want to speak to your solicitor or just download the forms but I thoroughly recommend you take some action. Every one of us will believe it is too soon, we're not old enough and any number of other excuses not to take action. Don't kid yourself!