One of the keys to a better version of you, mentally and physically, is sleeping well. We want all of our industry members to sleep as well as they can that’s why EIC have partnered with Sleepstation. Sleepstation is a clinically validated sleep improvement programme that can help you learn how to control and optimise your sleep to get the best sleep possible. Designed by experts and backed by science, the online service is proven to combat even the most severe insomnia. Their team will help you identify the underlying causes of your sleep problem and provide the personal support and guidance needed to improve your sleep. Sleepstation delivers remote care with a personal touch and that's what makes it so effective. Therapeutic support through Sleepstation is available to those in need and meeting our charity eligibility criteria.
It’s a fact of life that we will all have to care for our parents in some capacity. It may look like popping in once a week for cuppa, visiting a residential home or having them move in with you. It can be difficult to broach this topic or even know what caring for your parents may look like. This month we delve into what you need to know.
If you’re fortunate enough to have one or both parents still living, you may have noticed a role reversal taking place in your relationship. Remember the days when your parents shuttled you to the doctor whenever you were sick? Now, it may be you who’s driving them to medical appointments. Perhaps you’ve become even more involved in managing their healthcare needs – serving as their healthcare proxy, moving them into your home to care for, or even having to select alternative care whether it’s in a residential home or care in their own home.
Whatever the case, it’s natural to feel challenged – and, yes, intimidated – in the role you’ve undertaken. But if you stay positive and proactive, you’ll be in a great position to advocate for your parents’ optimal care. And, really, what better way is there to say “Thank You” for all they’ve done for you over the years?
The following six recommendations will help you understand what may be happening to your parents as they age – and what you can do to help:
1. Stay vigilant to sudden changes:
Typically, sudden changes arise from sudden problems. Your elderly father who becomes confused one week but was alert and oriented the week before, or becomes unsteady walking and starts falling, is likely experiencing an acute problem – an infection, medication side effect, or perhaps, a heart attack or stroke.
If you pay attention to your parent’s baseline health and behaviour, you’ll be alert to sudden, and subtle, fluctuations. Being attuned to what’s “normal” for your parent is critical in advocating for his/her care. By informing the doctor of these changes, you help ensure that he/she receives a proper diagnosis and timely treatment – especially important in acute conditions.
2. Investigate the source of gradual decline:
An elderly woman living in a nursing home. Her family, assuming she had dementia, had moved her there after she had gradually stopped speaking. After performing a brief procedure on her, the doctor asked how she was doing. “I’m OK,” she replied. A miracle? Not exactly. The doctor had removed bullet-sized pieces of wax from her ears. She’d stopped speaking because her ears were too plugged to hear.
A host of conditions can cause gradual decline. Before jumping to the conclusion – as many people do – that Alzheimer’s disease is the culprit, recognise that your parent may be experiencing an altogether different problem: a vitamin B12 deficiency, an underactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease or depression, to name a few. When discussing your parent’s decline with their doctor, make sure the two of you consider all the possibilities. To prepare for the appointment, make notes detailing how the decline has manifested itself – loss of appetite, a failing short-term memory and so forth – and how long you’ve noticed these changes. That way, you won’t leave anything out.
3. Know a parent's medicine cabinet:
Familiarise yourself with the medications your parent takes: what each one is for and how often he/she takes them. Make sure you notify each doctor your parent visits of all the medicine he/she takes, including over-the-counter products. Ask what side effects you might observe from each medication and whether it’s potentially dangerous if your parent takes them together. You also want to tell the doctor whether your parent drinks alcohol or caffeinated drinks and whether he/she smokes, as these substances can affect some medications’ efficacy and safety.
4. Discourage ageist attitudes:
Simply put, ageism is prejudice against the elderly. It exists in many forms but can be particularly damaging to an older person’s self-esteem when it assumes that all of their woes are age-related. Here are a couple of ways of expressing ageism to an elderly parent:
“What do you expect at your age?”
“You’re not getting any younger.”
If you’re ever tempted to utter something similar, remind yourself that by chalking up everything that ails them to their age, you sell your parents short. If they’re depressed, it may have nothing to do with the fact that they’re 80 and everything to do with a biological predisposition to depression. And remember that right-knee pain in a 90-year-old can’t be just from age if there’s no problem with her left knee.
5. Address not just symptoms—but emotions, too:
There is disease and then there is “dis-ease” – that is, a lack of ease, security or wellbeing. “Dis-ease” can manifest itself as myriad emotions in an elderly person: fear, grief, boredom, embarrassment and sadness among them. The fact is these emotions can be every bit as debilitating as disease. Take the case of a parent who’s incontinent. Too embarrassed to socialise, he/she cuts themselves off from friends. Without companionship, he/she becomes lonely. Instead of allowing them to become a hermit, discuss with their doctor how to address the incontinence. Together, you can consider different solutions that will ease their embarrassment and reinvigorate their social life.
6. Address not just symptoms—but emotions, too:
No matter our age, we all want to enjoy life to the fullest and have the capability to do the things we want to. Improving the enjoyment of life and an individual’s functional ability are the cardinal goals of geriatric care. But you don’t need a medical diploma on your wall to help your parent achieve either of those goals. Being there to solve a problem or provide company are tremendously worthwhile services you can provide – no expertise required.
Remember, as your parents gets older, their quality of life becomes more important to them than how much longer they live. And they don’t necessarily need medication or surgery to ensure that they’re living the latter part of their life to the fullest. If your parent enjoys books but has difficulty reading regular-sized type, check out sight-saving titles at the library. If they are grieving the loss of their best friend, introduce them to new acquaintances. If they are living in a nursing home, bring your children there to share a meal with them. Sometimes, it’s the small gestures that have the most profound impact. As the child of an elderly parent, you are uniquely positioned to deliver these life-changing gifts.
Be realistic about how you can help: As a child of a person who needs care, you have a lot to consider and there are important decisions to make. You must consider your circumstances as well as the circumstances of your parent and look realistically at what you will be able to do to contribute to their care.
Involve your parents in the discussion: It is not easy to find the best way to care for elderly parents. Make sure you consult with your parents when thinking about their care needs, as the decisions that have to be made will affect them more than they affect you. They will be receiving the care, not you, and even if they are unwell or confused, they may be able to express preferences to you that you should take into account alongside your own needs.
Don’t procrastinate the decision: You may have noticed that your parent has been struggling for a while… perhaps something sudden has happened, like a fall or an accident, that is making you look at their care needs in more depth now. Or perhaps a general decline in their physical, mental, emotional or cognitive health has been taking place. Either way, when long-term care is required for your parents, conversations must take place and decisions must be made.
Be flexible and approach the topic with sensitivity: Bear in mind that your parent or parents may initially resist your encouragement to get care and support. They have probably been independent for their whole adult lives and are not keen on any suggestion that they need to depend on anybody else to look after them. They may also be afraid that they will be forced to leave their beloved home and surroundings that are familiar to them.
It is not easy to have these conversations, but it is important to persist. Explain that you do not think they are safe on their own without support, or that you are worried they are struggling to manage. Persuading parents to accept help can be difficult, but there are ways to lead the conversation so that everybody is open and honest about their hopes and fears.
Nobody wants to have the conversation. The one where you talk to your elderly parents – the people who brought you up and looked after you as a child – about their growing need for support in their home. The idea that they may have to leave their home to live in an assisted living facility or care home is even more difficult to deal with.
However, the time may come when it is necessary, and you have to work out how to talk to your parents – or other elderly loved ones – about care. You cannot force them to do anything they don’t want to do. Still, you know that they are less able to cope, and may struggle with managing their health or their home without some help. It may be dangerous for your parents or relative to not have care support if they are at risk of falls, or are unable to cook food for themselves any more. And you are in a position where you need to communicate with them about that.
Preparing for the conversation:
Before having the conversations with your parents about care and getting help, you may want to do some research on the care options that are available to you. Know what is available and think of the pros and cons of each possibility. You may want a professional carer to come into your parents’ home to help with household tasks or personal care. Or you may consider having the conversation about assisted living or a care home, if at-home options are no longer viable.
Each of these care options will have a different impact on your loved one’s life – keep that in mind when listing the pros and cons of home care, care homes and introductory services. Your parents may well have already given the matter some thought, just like you have, and may have better ideas than you about what would suit them best. It’s therefore a good idea to always keep an open mind when talking to your elderly relative about their care options.
Another positive tactic can be to involve other members of the family, as well as close friends. Discuss your worries with them: they may have had similar experiences themselves and may be able to help you to source useful information. Plus, they may be able to offer an impartial point of view on the matter, being in certain cases less emotionally involved than you.
Broaching the subject of care with your parents:
You are now ready to introduce the subject of care with your loved one. There are many things you should consider when thinking about how to talk to your ageing parents about planning for their future. First of all, the environment in which the conversation takes place can have a big impact. Try to talk with your relative in person rather than over the phone, make sure everybody is sitting comfortably, and turn off distractions like the TV or radio. Your attitude and tone are important factors too. When having this conversation with elderly parents, treat them like the adults that they are. Even when they are losing their memory to dementia, or are struggling with physical pain and disability, they have needs and desires, as well as a right to have a say in how their lives are run.
Therefore, remember this is a two-way conversation, not a monologue on your part. Ask your relative what they want and take that into consideration rather than dismissing it out of hand, even if it does not match what you had imagined. Explain your concerns slowly and clearly and put yourself in your parents’ shoes as you talk. You want them to understand what you are saying and why you are saying it. Be reassuring when you can, and truly listen to what they have to say. Don’t interrupt them when they respond or contradict them unnecessarily. It may be an awkward and difficult conversation, especially if they are resistant to the idea of getting help but taking it slowly and always listening respectfully will help.
Personalised, high quality care can have a truly positive impact on your loved one’s life: it can empower them to keep their routine, pursue their life-long passions and hobbies, and preserve their independence. These are some of the selling points you can touch on when talking to your parents about the benefits of getting care:
1. "You'll keep your independence":
One thing to bear in mind is that accepting care is not “giving in”. It does not mean that they will lose their independence. If anything, care enables them to preserve their independence and to stay in their home in a way that, without care, would not be manageable. Having support around the house and around their everyday tasks can even be liberating.
2.“There will always be someone to help you in an emergency”:
One thing to bear in mind is that accepting care is not “giving in”. It does not mean that they will lose their independence. If anything, care enables them to preserve their independence and to stay in their home in a way that, without care, would not be manageable. Having support around the house and around their everyday tasks can even be liberating.
3.“An extra pair of hands can help you in your everyday life”:
Some elderly people are intimidated by the prospect of somebody coming in to “look after” them but are quite keen on the idea of help with some housekeeping. This is doable when somebody is well enough to live independently and doesn’t have a serious health or memory condition. It can then be built up over time, if needed.
4. "Your friends have had good experiences with carers":
Your parents may well have friends in a similar position, some of whom will have accepted care support: it’s a good idea to mention the benefits those friends have experienced.
5. "You’ll have a friendly face to chat with on a regular basis":
For many elderly people, having a chat with a young carer can be a breath of fresh air that really cheers up their day.
You may need to have this conversation twice or more, as important decisions have to be made. Involve your parent in every step of the process to find care, including choosing their own carer, if possible. This way, they’ll feel they’re in control of the situation, and they’ll be more willing to consider different options. Some people find that introducing the idea gradually is the most effective approach. So, perhaps, start by saying how helpful it would be to have somebody come in to help them to prepare lunch every day, and build up to conversations about personal care at a later stage. A trial period can be an effective way of testing out home care. This often happens when family carers go on holiday for a week or two, and temporary professional care (often referred to as respite care) is put in place.
What to do if your elderly parents resist the idea of care?:
Talking to ageing parents about changes is not always straightforward, and sometimes they will refuse the idea of care support altogether. So, how can you get your elderly parents to accept help? If an elderly person refuses assisted living, a care home or at-home care support, ask them some questions about why. If you can understand their objections and anxieties, you may be able to provide reassurance or counter their arguments. Explain to them that their condition is deteriorating, and that it is becoming dangerous for them to have no support. They may want to talk to their GP or practice nurse about their situation, and get their advice on whether they should be home alone, too. They may also want to get the opinions of other family members or friends; sometimes hearing the same thing from several people who all have your best interests at heart can be more convincing and reassuring. Also, remember to give them some time to think. This is a very important decision, and your parents may take a little while longer to come to the same conclusion as you. After all, none of us like to admit that we are getting older.
It’s a fact of life that we will all have to care for our parents in some capacity at some point. We often feel it is our duty to care for them in their twilight years as they took such care for us in our formative years. While caring for a parent may seem part and parcel in life it can still be challenging, stressful and tiring to care for someone who may be increasingly frail and dependent on you. 72% of carers report to struggle with ill mental health and 61% have reported physical illness as a result of caring. Caring for elderly parents can be a huge source of strain on the individual and familial and/or romantic relationships. Annie began to struggle caring for her mother after a deterioration in her mother’s health.
Annie’s mother had been living with her and her partner Mike for almost a decade after the sudden loss of Annie’s father. Annie’s mother lived in a self-contained annex and despite having some health difficulties including a heart murmur Annie’s mother lived independently with little help from Annie or Mike. Both Annie and Mike noticed changes in Annie’s mother’s behaviour, she experienced episodes of confusion, appeared disorientated and became prone to falling. With signs of worsening health Annie and Mike chose to move Annie’s mother into their home and support her more closely.
Unfortunately, Annie’s mother’s health continued to decline, and her behaviour became more challenging. She would regularly wander out of the property and on several occasions, police were called to help locate Annie’s mother. Annie’s mother would awake in the night and disorientated she would shout at Annie and Mike when they came to comfort or check on her. Mike worked long hours managing a team for an electrical distributor had respite during work and found he was finding excuses to not return home. Concerned about the impact Annie’s mother’s behaviour was having on both him and Annie he encouraged Annie to contact the Electrical Industries Charity for support using our Employee and Family Programme.
Annie contacted the Electrical Industries Charity welfare team and spoke of how she was becoming depressed and anxious. Annie was on edge worrying about her mother and when her next episode will be. The charity welfare team referred Annie for telephone counselling support to offer her an impartial party to confide in and vent to. Annie found speaking to an outside party extremely beneficial and found her weekly sessions a huge relief.
The Electrical Industries Charity also signposted Annie to the relevant social services who can help support her with caring for her mother. Involving social services also meant Annie knew of the additional support services available to both her and her mother.
Annie’s mother continued to live with Annie and Mike for a year. Unfortunately, Annie’s mother’s health continued to decline, and she moved into a permanent residential care. Since moving into residential care Annie’s mother’s health has stabilised and Annie visits her mother regularly. Annie’s mother enjoys life within the care home and has established good friendships with fellow residents as well as rekindled her love for bridge and crochet. Annie is in a much better place and her feelings of depression and anxiety have dissipated since telephone therapy. She has much more peace of mind with her mother receiving around the clock care and feels well supported by the care team within the home.
The Electrical Industries Charity have since closed Annie’s case, but Annie understands should she require any additional assistance the welfare team are available 365 days a year to support our industry. If you require support, a guiding hand or a listening ear the Electrical Industries Charity welfare team can assist you.
Here are some statistics on carers in the UK to give you an insight on just how many people take on carer’s role at some point in their life and how that impacts their wellbeing.
You are not alone, as 1 in 8 adults in the UK (around 6.5 million people) are carers:
- Every day another 6,000 people take on a caring responsibility – that equals over 2 million people each year.
- 58% of carers are women and 42% are men.
- 1.3 million people provide over 50 hours of care per week.
- Over 1 million people care for more than one person
- As of 2019 there could be as many as 8.8 million adult carers in the UK.
Carers save the economy £132 billion per year, an average of £19,336 per carer:
- 5 million people in the UK are juggling caring responsibilities with work - that's 1 in 7 of the workforce.
- However, the significant demands of caring mean that 600 people give up work every day to care for an older or disabled relative.
- Carer's Allowance is the main carer's benefit and is £66.15 for a minimum of 35 hours, the lowest benefit of its kind.
People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled:
- 72% of carers responding to Carers UK's State of Caring 2018 Survey said they had suffered mental ill health as a result of caring.
- 61% said they had suffered physical ill health as a result of caring.
- 8 in 10 people caring for loved ones say they have felt lonely or socially isolated.
Now that you’ve had the conversation with your parents, it is time to think about all the practical steps you’ll have to go through to arrange care for them. This checklist will help you get the support and information you need.
For the person you care for:
Make sure they have a care needs assessment:
If you have the permission of the person you care for, get in touch with your local council to ask for a care needs assessment. A social care professional will assess how they manage everyday tasks and what they want to achieve. The professional will look at the person's needs and consider what care and support could be useful. Care needs assessment and how to arrange one
Help them complete a benefits check:
The person you care for may be entitled to different benefits to you. If they need help finding out what to apply for, you could point them to the benefits calculator below. If they're entitled to benefits they're not currently claiming, you may be able to help with the application forms. But if you're struggling, your local Age UK may be able to help the person you care for to apply. Go to the benefits calculator
Consider if any home adaptations would make their life easier:
There are changes you can make in your home to make life with a long-term condition or disability a lot easier. From simple, practical tips, to useful technology and larger adaptations, find out what you could do to allow the person you care for to stay happy, healthy and comfortable at home. Home adaptations to simplify home tasks
Thinking about the future:
Although difficult, it's useful for the person you care for to think about the future and getting their affairs in order. It may be useful to think about their future care needs, their preferences, powers of attorney and whether their will is up to date.
1. Get a carer's assessment with your local council:
A carer's assessment will help you find out what you need and what could help you with your caring role. Some of the outcomes could be:
- Respite care
- Information about local support groups for carers
- Help with caring
- Equipment that would make your life easier as a carer.
- Read more about the carer's assessment
2. Register as a carer with your GP:
Let your doctor know that you're caring for someone, as you may be entitled to additional health services such as a free flu jab. Caring is hard, so it's important they know and can look out for your health, as well as offer advice and support.
3. Make time for yourself and your interests as often as you can:
When you're caring for someone else, your own interests and hobbies can often take a back seat. Although it can be hard to carve out time, it's so important that you still do the things that make you feel like you. Are there any friends or family who could support you for an hour, or any local day centres that could give you a bit of a break every week? That could be through a charity that supports people with specific conditions, or an Age UK day centre.
4. Take a break from caring:
You wouldn't work an office job for a full year without any holiday, and caring should be no different. Even if you can't afford it on your own, there may be support available to help you with respite care. More on respite care
5. Apply for Carer's Allowance:
Carer's Allowance is a payment of £66.15 a week to spend as you wish. If you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and earn less than £123 a week, you may be eligible.
Check if you can claim Carer's Allowance
6. Use a benefits calculator:
Find out if you're claiming everything you're entitled to by using an online benefits calculator.
Use the benefits calculator
7. Tell your employer about your caring responsibilities:
Your caring responsibilities may affect your productivity at work. That's totally natural - having 2 jobs is bound to be stressful and tiring. But if your employer knows, they may be able to help you deal with the stress, and they'll understand if you need to take days off at the last minute too.
8. Think about asking for flexibile working:
If at some point balancing work and caring becomes too much, you could ask your employer about opportunities for flexible working. That could mean working from home a few days a week, or working something like 5 days in 4, then having an extra day off. You have certain rights as a carer, like the right to time off in an emergency, and the right to request flexible working. Read more about juggling work and caring
Within the UK 850,000 people live with dementia and by 2025 it is predicted 1 million people will be living with dementia within the UK. The older you are the more likely you are to develop dementia. The risk of developing dementia when over 65 years old is 1 in 14 while over 80 it increases to 1 in 6 people. There are lots of different types of dementia including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s Disease and Vascular dementia. Christine approached the charity when her mother, aged 83, began to display signs of dementia.
Christine had worked for a major wholesaler for over a decade when she was forced to retire early at the age of 62 to care for her mother Marie. Marie has been living with Christine for more than three years, but her health had begun to decline.
Marie’s behaviour had become erratic and her personality was changing day-to-day. She was verbally and physically abusive to Christine and she suffered several falls within their home. Christine contacted the Electrical Industries Charity who signposted her to local social services for practical support. Social services recommended and facilitated a move into permanent residential care for Marie which alleviated some of the stress from Christine.
While living within residential care Marie’s behaviour remained challenging and she would often insult care staff. Marie began to refuse to eat, drink and take medication and she would physically challenge staff who came to care for her. Meanwhile, Christine was still struggling to get a formal diagnosis for her mother and was pushed from pillar to post within the health system. Marie was asked to leave the home and she had to move back in with Christine.
Struggling with the stress of her mother’s behaviour at home and mounting frustration with the lack of diagnosis Christine’s mental state began to deteriorate. Christine contacted the Electrical Industries Charity for emotional support. The Electrical Industries Charity provided some virtual talking therapy which took place over video chat so Christine could still manage her mother’s care. The Electrical Industries Charity also funded a private consultation with a senior consultant geriatrician. The geriatrician diagnosed Marie with an acute form of fronto-temporal dementia which explained Marie’s change in personality and ever-changing behaviour.
Equipped with a formal diagnosis and better understanding of Marie’s needs Christine was able to find a more suitable residential home and Marie’s needs although increasing are well catered to. The Electrical Industries Charity also supported with legal advice and helped Christine to put Enduring Power of Attorney in place if Marie’s mental state continues to decline.
Christine is now in a much better frame of mind and is comfortable knowing her mother is being supported as best as possible in a specialist home. The Electrical Industries Charity were able to support Christine in achieving the peace of mind she needed to safeguard her and her mother’s wellbeing. Christine has now found new freedom to pursue a part-time role within the industry and is moving in with a long-term partner.
As a carer you spend a lot of your time focusing on someone else. You may feel as if you just have no time at all for yourself. But looking after your own wellbeing is important for you and for them. Below are some suggestions that others have said they find helpful. Even just choosing one small thing to change might help you feel more able to cope.
Talk about how you feel
It can be really important to have someone to talk to, especially if you are struggling to cope. You could:
• share your feelings with someone you trust – this might be a family member or a friend
• join a support group for carers
• contact the Carers UK helpline
Ask for help if you need it
Most carers need some additional support. Think about whether family and friends could help you. People don't always know what they can do to help but may be happy to lend a hand if you can tell them what you need.
If you take on too much, you may feel as if you never achieve anything. If you have a clear idea about what you can do and accept the parts that you can't change or do alone, you may feel more able to cope.
You could try to:
• make a list of all the support the person you are caring for needs
• identify (with them if possible) what you can do and what you need help with
• think about how you'll be able to tell when you need a break and write this down too.
Staying organised can help you feel more in control. You could keep a schedule or planner of your daily routine and make sure that you keep all important information and medication in one place. But don't beat yourself up if you get muddled or things get lost. You've got a lot to think about.
Support their independence
Work with them to see how they can help themselves and work out what support they need from you and whether there are times that they can cope on their own. It's important to help them have some control over their care. You may find this means taking a step back or supporting decisions that are not what you would do. But it can also mean that you are able to find a balance in your relationship and perhaps a little more time for yourself.
Find positives in your relationship
Looking after someone can change your relationship with them. Sometimes you may feel close and connected but at other times you may feel angry and irritated. It can help to talk openly and honestly to find way of coping together. Try to:
• Think of yourself as their friend, partner or family member first and foremost
• Talk together about how to strengthen positive parts of your relationship
• Do nice things together as well as day to day responsibilities.
Take a break and make time for yourself
Try and take a break, especially if you are worried about your own mental health. You may not be able to take a break every time you need one but it's important to have some time that's yours. The Carer's Trust has more information about the help you can get to take a break.
You may need an hour or two to clear your head or a day to help you feel more rested. You could go out, take a bath or turn your phone off for an agreed period of time. Try to make time for things you enjoy. If possible, try and plan regular breaks into your routine. This can help you make plans in advance, give you something to look forward to and make sure the person you look after knows what to expect.
Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can make it more difficult to cope with day to day challenges and can make stress and depression worse. Have a look at our pages on how to cope with sleep problems.
Look after your physical health
It's important to try and make time to look after your physical health as best you can. Try and eat as healthily as you can and do some kind of regular physical activity. Our information pages on food and mood and physical activity has suggestions to help you fit things into a busy daily routine.
Your will tells everyone what should happen to your money, possessions, and property after you die (all these things together are called your ‘estate’). If you don’t leave a will, the law decides how your estate is passed on – and this might not be in line with your wishes.
Your will tells people two very important things:
- Who should have your money, property and possessions when you die?
- Who will be in charge of organising your estate and following the instructions you leave in your will – this person is called your ‘executor’, and you can name more than one person if you want to.
Make sure your will is legally valid.
A document is a valid will if it:
Says how your estate should be shared out when you die.
Was made when you were able to make your own decisions and you weren’t put under pressure about who to leave things to.
Is signed and dated by you in the presence of two adult, independent witnesses, and then signed by the two witnesses in your presence – the witnesses can’t be people who are going to inherit anything from you (or their husband/wife or civil partner.)
How to start making a will:
Step 1 – Make a plan
Start by thinking about what you want to leave to whom and then talk to your family – they might have some suggestions you haven’t thought of.
Once you have a plan look at the different options for making a will.
Step 2 – Get your will written
There are several ways you can get a will written.
The best option for you depends on how complicated your wishes are:
- A simple will - can cost between £144 and £240
- A complex will – can cost between £150 and £300. It may be more complex as you have been divorced and have children
- A specialist will – that involves trusts or oversea properties, or you want tax planning advice – expect to pay a minimum of £500 to £600 according to Which?
You can help make or make decisions about someone’s property and money if they appointed you using an enduring power of attorney (EPA). The person who appointed you is called the ‘donor’ - you are their ‘attorney’. Any decision you make on the donor’s behalf must be in their best interests. You’ll need to check if the donor’s given you specific instructions or guidance in the EPA document that You can start using an EPA at any time if the EPA is legal and the donor gives you permission.
You’ll be responsible for helping the donor make decisions about their finances. Depending on their instructions you’ll help manage things like their:
- Money and bills
- Bank and building society accounts
- Property and investments
- Pensions and benefits
You must register the EPA when the donor starts to lose or has lost their mental capacity.
You must still involve the person in making decisions whenever possible and only make decisions on their behalf which are in their best interests.
Stop being an attorney:
The EPA will end if the donor cancels it or they die. You can stop being an attorney by choice. You must register the enduring power of attorney (EPA) as soon as the donor starts to lose mental capacity.
- Tell the donor, their family members, and other attorneys you intend to register the EPA
- Apply to register the EPA
- Pay the fee