Easing the burden for the ‘sandwich generation’

Many of us fall into the category referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’ as we look after young children, balance careers and often care for parents or older relatives. For those spending so much time caring for others, it is also easy to overlook your own planning.

It is important to address the legal issues which can arise with older relatives and to make sure that you also have documents in place to protect you.

Here are a few simple tips for families to consider:

Wills

Does everyone in the family have Wills in place? Parents might have Wills but they might need updating if their circumstances have changed or their health has declined. Wills can also be used to ensure assets are passed to future generations.

Many parents of young children don’t have Wills either. Wills are essential to nominate people to look after your children and to look after your assets on their behalf. Wills also allow you to put in place planning for disabled children.

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)

These are documents you can sign appointing others to make decisions regarding your financial affairs or healthcare decisions on your behalf.

LPAs are essential documents for all clients but become particularly relevant for older relatives who might be struggling to make decisions in these areas.

You can decide who will be authorised to make decisions on your behalf (called Attorneys), should you require help in the future. Attorneys can be a partner, siblings, friends or professionals and must be people you trust to act in your best interests.

Once appointed, Attorneys have legal authority to act on your behalf, even in the event you become mentally incapable in the future.

Usually, LPAs are used for elderly relatives who need care and cannot administer their financial affairs or make decisions regarding their healthcare and treatment.   

However, there is no right time to put the documents in place and it is preferable to do so before someone starts to struggle to make decisions.

What if you have left it too late to talk to older family members?

If someone is no longer able to sign legal documents, it is possible to apply to Court to take control over their financial affairs. This is more restricted than putting LPAs in place so it is important to try and plan before relatives become mentally incapacitated.

As always, good advice from a suitably qualified solicitor will help navigate the points above.

For more information, or to discuss any of the issues above, contact a member of our Wills & Probate team on 0113 201 4900, or email wills.probate@emsleys.co.uk, for a free, initial consultation.

Helen Gott

Written by

Helen Gott

Director & Head of Wills & Probate

Helen is a solicitor, Director and Head of the Wills & Probate department at Emsleys Solicitors. Since qualifying in 2010, Helen has specialised exclusively in the area of Wills & Probate and is described as "very knowledgeable" in The Legal 500 2018-19. Helen is an expert in wills,...

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