Many of us have been under something akin to house arrest over the last year. One of the recent movies that you may have come across on your media platform is “I Care A Lot”. Why am I writing about film again? Well, it’s a pertinent story, here is why…
Many of us may have to contemplate Residential Care for ourselves or our loved ones. I have very few clients that relish this prospect. Most prefer to stay in their own home for as long as possible, retaining their independence and dignity as they see it. Most people will therefore be likely to only find themselves in care if a life, lived at home is not really possible. The cost of residential care can be significant, the weekly fees can be eye-watering and probably far exceed any weekly that you have achieved in your entire lifetime. Those of you that have faced this already will know this already.
THE LETTER OF THE LAW
The basic plot of the movie “I Care A Lot” sees lawyer Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) present the façade of caring for people in this predicament. She is using the law to imprison people in a care facility and then take over managing their assets making a fortune in fees in the process.
She abuses the system, fools the judiciary, bribes the medics, funds the care home managers and manipulates her way to a fortune. The first 30 minutes of the movie had my blood boiling as she serenely executes her targeted imprisonment of Jennifer Peterson, (Dianne Wiest) someone that is clearly able to look after herself and is well resourced. In a courtroom Marla’s arguments are well rehearsed, tried, tested and watertight – they seem reasonable. “You can’t care for someone by doing what they want. You have to do what they need and I can care better than a family member.” We suspect and the court knows that this is sadly often the case. We are left to face the uncomfortable truth that we can see the legal point, even if its wrong.Sadly, this part of the film is alarmingly believable, later elements are not, but I will leave those for you to discover.
In the UK having Power of Attorney can or should ensure that this sort of abuse of power cannot happen. Whenever the State is permitted to step in, there will always be strings attached and likely little contextual thinking as the State is an institution, designed for box-ticking and box sorting to answer bigger questions of taxation rather than the nuances of individuality.
Having a Will and Power of Attorney drawn up properly and discussed with the people you intend to hold positions of responsibility (Attorney, Executor or Trustee) is a fundamental task of good financial planning for the future.
We might all want professionals to be trustworthy, but we know that they are simply people and have their own pressures. Money is a sure way to attract the wrong people and illicit the worst responses from them. As also developed in the excellent six-part mini-series “Behind Her Eyes” starring Simona Brown, Eve Hewson and Tom Bateman (also on Netflix).
TAKING INITIATIVE, PLANNING AHEAD
Last week I took on a very bright new client who has given this much thought. Perfectly capable today, but with a clear appreciation that the day may come when that is no longer the case, and perhaps (probably) “I wouldn’t even know”. Your planning should be designed to give you peace of mind, not anxiety. The great difficulty is finding someone in whom you can place a high degree of trust. Following the law does not demonstrate trust, clarifying, documenting and understanding your own expectations is, which is why reviewing and checking progress with you each year is so important. A year ago, few would have considered the challenges that we have faced together. They have presented tests for our values and hopes. Have you kept us up to date with any changes to yours?
For a dramatic way to grab your attention, here are the trailers for the movie and the series mentioned.
You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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