February, 2014

Helpful Resources and Links

Office of the Public Guardian (www.justice.gov.uk) Office of the Public Guardian in Scotland (www.publicguardian-scotland.gov.uk) The Office of Care and Protection Northern Ireland (www.courtsni.gov.uk) (www.courtsni.gov.uk) Solicitors for the Elderly (www.solicitorsfortheelderly.com) Mental Capacity Act (www.justice.gov.uk) Court of Protection (www.gov.uk) Lasting power of attorney (www.gov.uk) NHS: Power of Attorney (www.nhs.uk) Alzheimer’s Society Lasting Power of Attorney(www.alzheimers.org.uk) Citizens Advice Bureau: Managing affairs for someone else(www.adviceguide.org.uk) British Bankers Association: Guidance for people wanting to manage a bank account for someone else. (www.bba.org.uk) Money Advice Service: Help someone else with money(www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk) The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) (www.tpsonline.org.uk) An updated list of useful resources is always available here. Related articles New Guidance Launched to ease the stress of managing a bank account for another person...

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Why Do People Treat the Elderly so Poorly?

On 21st February, 2014, the Daily Mail, in England, printed several stories that highlighted the terrible way that several elderly people had been treated by friends and family. As these stories include several legal cases with some still running in court on this day of writing, you should note that not all of the people may be guilty of the offences they have been charged with, so it is up to the reader to check the outcome of each court case that they wish to pass comment on. This article is more about the problems that exist in society rather than discussing the  circumstances of a particular court case. Some of these people involved may be innocent or guilty and it is up to the courts to decide. Case one A person constantly told their boss that their father had died to try and obtain three weeks off work. They also produced a fake death certificate to help ensure a period of compassionate leave which they wanted to start on New Year’s Eve. Details here Case two A pensioner owned a property worth around £1.8 million, but was talked into selling it for just over half the price to the estate agent’s property developer brother-in-law. Details here Case three One lady didn’t try to find work, it was suggested, because she was waiting for her mother’s inheritance. The mother in question, changed her will on her deathbed and cut out the daughter who hadn’t worked for several years. The daughter is now asking the judge to change that will because she claims it was updated in a manner that suggested the will was invalid. Details here Case four One businessman read a eulogy at a close friend’s funeral, before he stole the entire pension fund from the widow. This fraudster admitted to 22 charges of obtaining a money transfer by deception with up to 50 people being fleeced across 12 years. Details here In all of these cases hundreds of thousands of pounds were involved and even in the final case where the man admitted to fraud totalling £1.6 million, the police believe the scam was worth more than £3 million. These court cases prove that it is essential for individuals to have their wills written, signed and witnessed correctly and where there is any doubt of the state of mind of the person completing their will, medical evidence is required to confirm the...

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Funeral Plans in Numbers

The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) statistics show that 135,160 pre-paid funeral plans were purchased during 2013, from registered providers. 57,001 plans were drawn down, which means they were used for a funeral during the year. This still leaves 859,840 pre-paid funeral plans that were undrawn; not used yet, at the end of the year. This represents around 1.5% of the U.K.’s population. Those purchasing and using pre-paid funeral plans are expecting to set aside the majority or all of their funeral costs by paying in advance. An average funeral across 2013 cost £3300-£3500 and the FPA suggest that funeral inflation is around 7% per year. That inflation rate is over three times the standard British inflation rate at present. funerals will cost around £6,220 by the year 2022. Compare eggs to eggs Anyone considering the purchase of a pre-paid funeral plan should carefully look over a range of potential packages, to not only compare prices, which are all quite similar, but to compare the contents of each package so that you know what is guaranteed within the purchase and what is not. Some prepaid funeral plans guarantee the funeral director’s costs and apply a sum of money against the additional costs, which include the cremation or burial, doctors fees and the expenses involved in conducting a funeral service. A burial costs around £1,000 more than a cremation. You will need to check whether limousines are included as well as a hearse for the occasion. You will receive a certificate detailing the precise information about your purchase. The type of funeral you require can vary considerably. In some circumstances people wish for the body to be available for visitors to spend a few moments to say a private goodbye. Choosing a simple coffin or up to the most extravagant model, can dramatically change the cost of a funeral. Best advice The best advice for anyone considering the purchase of a funeral plan is to decide exactly what you do want, to list what you don’t require and see which packages meet your particular needs. You can complete the purchase over the Internet, by post or by meeting with a representative of the funeral plan provider. All providers offer you at least a 28 day opportunity to change your mind and ask for all of your money to be returned to you. Related articles Funeral director speaks out on rising cost...

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Turn Your Loved One Into a Diamnond

Following a cremation, human remains can be turned into a diamond and kept in the family line as a piece of jewellery. A Swiss company, Algordanza, turns around 900 people a year into exclusive jewellery with a turnaround time of approximately 3 months. The majority of diamonds become blue, which might come from the small amounts of boron found in the human body. Some diamonds become yellow, white or almost black, but each diamond will be different from the rest and always unique. The fee for this work ranges between US$5000 and US$22,000. The process is similar to how a synthetic lab uses carbon materials to make diamonds. The person’s ashes are made into carbon and placed into a machine which will apply intense pressure and heat for a number of weeks. After the diamonds have cooled they are shaped and cut. All that is required is one pound of ashes. A standard sized person’s ashes can produce nine different diamonds. Enter “Ashes to diamonds” and “UK” into a Google search engine and you can find 5900+ results in less than a second to direct you to companies who carry out the procedure within the UK. Some companies quote prices from around £200 up to almost no limit, so it may pay you to shop around for the best deal. While some people will consider these actions as incredibly poor taste, many other people will be able to hold and cherish a part of their loved one for the rest of their life, knowing that the diamond can be passed on successfully to other family members. If you would prefer to be buried and return as part of a tree, click the link here. Related articles Turning Dead People Into...

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Have You Planned For Your Funeral?

Just one person in nine has confirmed that their funeral wishes are known and understood sufficiently by members of their own family. According to research conducted by Dying Matters, just 70% of people suggest that they are comfortable discussing the subjects surrounding death. Almost as alarming is the fact that just 35% of people have made a will and 11% have confirmed their funeral wishes in writing. When the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) researched their own people, they found that 42% of funeral directors hadn’t even made plans for their own funeral. This doesn’t mean that they haven’t made arrangements in advance, but they have failed to inform those close to them. Writing down your funeral wishes, perhaps by using the leaflet that you can download for free on the Dying Matters website, is a good first step to helping those around you understand more about your funeral wishes. Nevertheless, purchasing a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan is a perfect way to organise all of your arrangements in advance. This will provide peace of mind for those you leave behind because they will not have to worry about wondering what arrangements you would have preferred. Getting your last testament and will written is helpful in stating some of your funeral wishes, but they are only wishes and do not bind anyone to your words. The NAFD research is in line with the British Social Attitudes Survey 2012, which revealed older people are becoming more likely to make their end of life wishes known. If applied to the whole British population, the findings showed that an additional 200,000 people aged 55-75 reported feeling comfortable talking about death compared with 2009, and an extra 400,000 in the same age bracket had discussed their end of life wishes. Related articles ‘Unusual’ funeral requests on...

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