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Putting our affairs in order

By Gillian

I found yesterday to be a very hard day, as we had an appointment booked with our solicitors to start putting Christopher’s affairs in order for when/if he becomes too ill to look after them himself. Although we hope that is still a long way off, it made me realise in a visceral way just where this journey is going, and I found that very upsetting.

We each made a Will when we got married, and have kept them updated whenever we have had a major change in our circumstances. Indeed, when Chris was made redundant last autumn, he updated his Will to reflect his altered situation, even before we knew that he had cancer. So that at least is fully up-to-date and doesn’t need changing.

However, we’ve always kept separate finances, and we wanted to make sure that I could handle his money on his behalf should he become too ill to do so himself. So yesterday he asked our solicitor to draw up a Lasting Power of Attorney, naming me as the attorney to act on his behalf. Before it can come into force, it needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, and that can take around six weeks. Since we can’t predict when  (or indeed whether) we’re going to need it, we’ve decided to complete and register it asap, then leave a copy on file with our solicitors and only put it into force should it become necessary. We will need two witnesses; one is the solicitor, but the other needs to be either a doctor/similar professional or a close friend who can certify that Chris is of sound mind, really wants this of his own volition, and isn’t being bullied into it by the beneficiary, namely me!

One bit of it was quite amusing. Although our solicitor is experienced at drawing up these documents, it sounds like her clientele is mostly little old ladies. We asked her how a power of attorney would work with internet banking, as some of Christopher’s redundancy money is stashed away in internet-only bank accounts. She’d barely heard of internet banking, certainly didn’t use it herself, and said that all of her clients have standard branch-based accounts so she had no idea how it would work! So Chris is going to have to make some enquiries himself with the internet banks – a nuisance, but it’s important that we find out well before we need to act.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. John McW | 30 January 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Chris, Gillian,

    you are welcome to put me on your “babysitting”
    list although I am in Cardiff two days most
    weeks. Our home telephone number is in the Malvern directory.

    Best wishes

    p.s. Even if the disease can not be fought, the
    effects certainly can. Keep battling.

  2. icyjumbo | 31 January 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you, John, that’s very kind of you.

    Oh, I intend to keep fighting the effects. It’s worth too much to me not to.

  3. Chris West | 31 January 2010 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I am sure that you will have a long list of possible names as witnesses in mind – you are more than welcome to add mine if you feel this is appropriate – no need to respond to this blog.
    Keep smiling – I will keep reading