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Archive for January, 2014

I’ve had a very interesting day today. I’ve been door knocking, in a very well-to-do area, speaking to people about the benefits of paying for their funerals now in order to fix the cost at today’s prices (on average £3300 for a cremation) so that their estate or family won’t be have to pay a significantly higher fee when the inevitable eventually happens.

Because of the area I thought that people would already be sorted or be interested in receiving more information. To say my eyes have been opened would be an understatement. Personally, I think this is a no brainer. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to save thousands of pounds in unnecessary funeral costs so that more of your money goes to the people you love or a favourite charity?

But it seems that there are lots of people out there who couldn’t care less. ‘No, not interested’, was a stock response when I told them that planning ahead and buying a plan now would enable them to leave more to their families or ensure that their families weren’t left to shoulder a potentially large financial obligation. Really? Not interested in ensuring your hard earned cash goes to the people you love most rather than to pay an anonymous funeral director and your local council? I wonder if I’d knocked on the door and said, ‘Can I interest you in a cash gift of £5,000/£10,000/£30,000 for absolutely nothing?’ whether their response would have been the same. I think I might try that line next time because these are the kinds of savings we’re talking about; not a paltry few hundred quid.

How do I arrive at these figures? A cremation today costs, on average, £3,300. Prices have been going up by 7% a year for the past few years. If this continues for the next 30 years you arrive at a figure of just under £25,000. And, if there are two of you, that’s £50,000 out of your estate instead of just £7,000, all because of apathy. Another illustration: prices go up by 4% annually but you are only 50 now and will live for another 40 years. The price then will be a mere £15,000 per funeral. Add just 1% and you’re looking at £23,000 each.

I wonder how the children of these people would feel if they were aware of these facts and knew that their parents could have paid just £7,000 if they’d just bothered to consider the facts and do something about it.

Others admitted that they had thought about buying a plan but that they just couldn’t bring themselves to do it. Further conversation revealed some ridiculous superstitions. Come on people; we’re not in the middle of deepest, darkest Africa here where people still believe in voodoo claptrap. We’re in the UK in the 21st century. Sorting out stuff to do with your inevitable demise doesn’t mean you’re going to drop dead an hour later anymore than taking out buildings insurance means your house is going to burn down.

Others, who were obviously well into their 70s if not their 80s, seemed to believe that they were never going to die. ‘Oh, it’s a bit too soon to be thinking about all that’. Seriously? Do they put something in the water in these streets that means people are immortal?

I can only imagine the frustration if you are the child of one of these types of people, trying to persuade them to see sense. Fortunately for me, I’m not. My very sprightly 81 year old mother has taken the intelligent, pragmatic and considerate approach and got everything sorted and paid for. I hope she’s around for another 20 years at least – she’s under orders to get to 100 – and although there would be more than enough in her estate to settle the significantly larger funeral bill (around £13,000 instead of £3,300 at the current 7% annual increase rate) surely that’s not the point. The point is why would you choose to just throw away £10,000 that could have been used to benefit your family or do some good in the wider world just because you couldn’t be bothered to take some action and fill in a few forms, you allowed yourself to be swayed by a totally irrational fear that you must know is ridiculous or you just refused to face up to the fact of your own mortality as if this would somehow save you from the inevitable? As they say in Yorkshire, there’s nowt so queer as folk!

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Lasting Powers of Attorney are important legal documents that all too often get overlooked. Without going into the legal technicalities, LPAs are, if not exactly essential, as there are ways of overcoming the issue of not having an LPA, are extremely valuable in situations where someone becomes unable to look after their own affairs. (The LPA replaced the Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) in October 2007 and existing EPAs still remain valid.)

The most common reason given for people taking out an LPA is in case of dementia in later life but LPAs are not just for the elderly and there are many cases where this important and powerful legal document could have saved people lots of stress, anxiety and money. This particularly relates to businesses and, in particular, small to medium sized businesses or SMEs.

Take, for example, a sole trader. If a sole trader becomes either physically or mentally incapacitated through illness or injury, how will the business continue? A Deputyship order can be made to the Court of Protection, but the business could have imploded before the formalities have been completed and the cost implications are significantly greater than the cost of having an LPA already in place.

What about small partnerships? With many partnerships the banking mandate often contains a restriction that payments in excess of a certain amount require two signatures. What happens if one of those signatories is incapacitated? How would the partnership pay those larger amounts? What impact would this have on the business?

This last example relates to health insurance products such as Income Protection or Critical Illness cover. By definition, the policy holder could become incapacitated, in which case what would happen if they can’t sign the claim form? There’d be no cash until the application for Deputyship is sorted which could take several months. How would your mortgage and bills get paid in the meantime? Would there be enough money going into the home to pay for all your additional expenses too? In fact, anyone taking out one of these policies would be well advised to make the relevant LPAs at the same time.

If you’d like a chat about making an LPA and how one could help protect your business and family in the event of a crisis then call me on 07850 751671 or email catherine@lovinglymanaged.com.

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It’s not surprising that people don’t pre-plan their funerals; in the UK it’s hard enough persuading them to make a will with apathy being the main reason why people haven’t got one. Most people mean to do it but even a third of over 55s still haven’t got round to it. And anyway, why put it off? I watched a documentary about Olympic rower James Cracknell the other night. I had no idea he had come so close to death as a result of a cycling accident which wasn’t in any way his fault and he was only 38 when it happened. We just never know what is going to happen and when do iIf you’ve got one or more of either children, possessions and assets, no matter how little in value, you should have a will.

But death is a tricky subject. Try bringing it up at the next dinner party you go to and see how long it is before someone begs to change the subject! The very idea of death is distasteful to people, even causing genuine fear in some, as if just talking about it could make it happen, so people put off putting the practicalities in place that, when the inevitable happens, would really help those left behind.

So here are Top 10 reasons to pre-plan your funeral:

1. It gives you peace of mind.
2. It shows that you care enough about yourself and those left behind to do it.
3. It removes the decision making burden from your children and family members.
4. It eliminates the potential for family rows.
5. It prevents the wrong decisions about what people think you would have wanted from being made.
6. You are able to personalise your services so you get exactly what you want.
7. It enables you to create an end that is a true reflection of who you were in life – your values and beliefs.
8. It sets an example.
9. You may be the sole survivor in your family so providing detailed instructions is a sensible insurance policy if you are worried that your death will ultimately be overseen by strangers.
10. You control your funeral and burial expenses.

Pre-planning your funeral is not scary; it’s just planning. It may only take as little as a couple of hours, depending on how much detail you want to go into and how far into the process you want to go. You can start by writing your wishes down and giving them to a family member or friend. You can do this on your own or Lovingly Managed can help you put your wishes in order. Additionally, you might also want to take the next step of pre-paying for your funeral with a pre-paid funeral plan. Lovingly Managed works with the industry leaders in this area and can advise you on the best policy to suit your circumstances.

So don’t let your fear of death cause your family more pain than is necessary when the moment arrives. Pre-planning will put your and their minds at ease and they will thank you for it!

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I came across this article on Facebook and I thought it was a good idea should the unthinkable happen and young children find themselves in a situation where their parent or carer is either dead or seriously injured in a car accident.

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A couple weeks ago, my son, Grayson, had his six-month doctor’s appointment. I had my son, Brayden, 2, in tow as well.

As we waited for the doctor to come in, Brayden went around touching everything in sight. Near the doctor’s computer was a tall stack of stickers, which he picked up and spilled all over the floor.

I picked them and noticed they were ID stickers for children that read “CHAD,” or “Children Have An Identity.”

Curious, I read the back of the sticker. It told the story of a 13-month-old boy named Chad who was involved in a car accident. The driver, a baby-sitter, had been killed. Chad was injured, but no one on the scene knew his identity.

Chad’s mother was an emergency room nurse. When he came in, she recognized him and his injuries could be treated.

The ID sticker was created after this incident. It is placed on a safety seat so if the child is involved in an accident, they can quickly be identified and treated.

I took two stickers and put them in my purse and there they sat. I had actually forgotten about them until I came across a story someone had shared on Facebook.

The post read: “Too frequently firefighters come upon a car wreck where the mom is unconscious and there are children in the car who are too young to speak or communicate anything useful to the rescue team.

“ADVICE: Place a sticker on each child’s car seat providing information that can help rescuers. Include: child’s name & DOB, parent’s names, DOB & phone, emergency contact info, child’s doctor, any medical issues and any medications.”

After reading this, I remembered the handy stickers I had gotten at my pediatrician’s office. Tonight, when I get home from work, I plan to put these on our car seats.

I’d like to encourage other parents to do the same. It’s such a simple thing to do that could ensure, in a worst-case scenario, that your child gets the help they need right away. – See more at: http://www.rockfordparent.com/blog/rockford_parent/x1275640423/A-simple-thing-most-parents-probably-dont-think-to-do#sthash.FM872CMK.dpuf

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