Living Will

A Living Will

(legally known as an Advance Decision)

Senior Couple Talking With Financial Advisor

We all hope to live in good health for ever, but accidents and illnesses do occur.  At such times we may not be able to say what we want to happen; how we want to be treated.

There are two forms that a “Living Will” can take. You may make an “Advance Statement” or “Advance Decision”.

An Advance Statement is used to describe how you would like to be treated, in the event that you are not sufficiently mentally capable of explaining at some later date. It is a narrative that health professionals and those taking care of you must consider but it is NOT legally binding. You can read more here:  http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/living-wills/advance-statement/

An Advance Decision (to refuse treatment) IS legally binding. Developing an Advance Decision would, sensibly, provide a chance for you to discuss possible treatment with your doctor as well as to discuss and resolve difficult issues with your family and friends.  A fuller explanation is available here:  http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/living-wills/advance-decision/

It is important to be aware that an Advance Decision can be changed by you at any time.

How to make an Advance Decision is explained here:  http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money-matters/legal-issues/living-wills/how-to-make-advance-decision/

You can also download a detailed factsheet from Age UK: Living Will

A fully detailed form for you to fill in is available at:

https://www.lawdepot.co.uk/contracts/living-will-advance-directive/?ldcn=livingwilluk

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

FREE TV LICENCE FOR PEOPLE OVER 75

Did you know that people 75 or over can get a FREE TV licence? BUT  you have to apply !TV Licensing

The process of applying for a free licence can start when you are 74. Your current TV Licence is likely to expire some time after your 74th birthday, so this will ensure that you only pay for the part of this final year up to your 75th birthday. You can find the details here.

If you didn’t apply when you were 74, you can still apply at any time that you are 75 or older. You can find the details  here.

If you are not entitled to a free TV Licence, you may find it convenient to spread the payments for your licence either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Details of the TV Licensing’s Payment Card can be found here.

Contact phone numbers are given below:-

To enquire about the licence for people aged 75 or over – 0300 790 6073

To apply for the TV Licensing Payment Card call  0300 555 0286
For general TV Licensing enquiries – 0300 790 6115
To use the translation service – 0300 790 6044
To use the textphone facility – 0300 790 6050

Scams and fraud

Scams & Fraud

According to the Metropolitan Police, scams cost the British public Billions (yes – that’s Billions) of pounds every year. They come door-to-door, by mail, phone and online and they get more sophisticated every day and are a widespread problem. A Which? Survey in 2015 found that 54% of respondents had either personally been exposed to a scam, or had a friend or relative who had been, within the last 2 years. How can we protect ourselves from this onslaught?

There is a wealth of information online about how to recognise scams and fraud, and give details about the wide range that have been identified. The Little Book of Big Scams (little_book_scam) and the Scam Guide are two excellent resources.

It is unfortunately true that we all have to put time, effort and resources into keeping ourselves safe fromToo Good all forms of crime. That is the world we live in. Reading the examples in the resources presented above is well worthwhile. But there are two general principles that will help to keep you from falling prey to scams and fraud.

  1. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”
  2. Do not respond to “cold callers”.

Think: did you do anything to initiate the contact? If not, then do not reply. We do not like to be rude to somebody at the door or on the phone. You don’t have to be rude; just say “No thank you” and shut the door or put the phone down. Don’t fall for the “I’m not selling anything, I am just doing a survey for …..”. If it arrives in the mail, just put the letter or flyer in the bin.

Online scams and fraud are increasing rapidly. Suspect emails may be routed to your Spam or Trash folders by your ISP. Delete them without even opening them unless you are very sure that you recognise the sender (some emails do get directed incorrectly by the ISP but be careful if you accept them). Phishing emails, that appear authentic and to originate from authoritative sources such as your bank, are becoming more prevalent. It is very likely that you will have received emails from supposed banks with which you do not even have an account. They should be easy to spot! Your bank or companies like Amazon will never ask you for sensitive information to be sent to them by email. Never respond to such emails or click on links they contain, even if you think they might genuine. If you want to check, get their phone number from your account statement and call them. And, whatever you do, never, ever click on a link in an email. It might appear that it will take you to your bank web site but it is easy to set it up to take you elsewhere.

You can avoid some unwanted phone calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service. Unfortunately, this does not prevent all unwanted calls and scammers are least likely to abide by their rules. For a small cost, you can purchase a call blocking device that attaches to your phone and allows you to receive only calls you want to accept. BT also has a range of phones with the built-in capability of call blocking.

New Pension Freedoms

New Pension Freedoms

The revelation by the Mail on Sunday that critical personal financial data was being sold to potential fraudsters and “Cold Callers” has further fuelled the concern about the potential for problems when new pension freedoms come into force. These concerns are summarised here.

It is generally good advice not to respond to cold callers, whatever way they use to approach you (at the door, on the phone or through the internet). If you did not invite the contact – refuse to respond to it.

The government have set up “Pension Wise” to help explain the new rules around greater pension freedom and the available options. Which? Provide a useful guide to the Pension Wise service, explaining the service and providing some useful questions that you might wish to ask here. The government have launched the Pension Wise website. If you visit this site, you will note that it is new and a beta site, asking for your feedback to help make improvements. Click here to visit the site.

Citizens Advice is working with the Treasury to make sure as many people as possible can easily access a face to face Pension wise session (see here). You can contact CAB in Wales on                03444 77 20 20.

It must be very tempting to let somebody else offer to resolve what might appear to be a complicated subject. But; this whole area is fraught with potential dangers. At best you may be offered a poor deal. At worst you may be conned. Taking the wrong action may also leave you liable to tax.  If you have doubts take appropriate advice, do more research. Don’t fall prey to cold callers.