YODO! - You Only Die Once


This week is Dying Matters Awareness Week, and the theme is Talk, Plan, Live. Many people don't like to talk or even think about the prospect of death, which means they're failing to properly plan for the future.

You Only Die Once - #yodo

Dying Matters, who have arranged the awareness week, are a charity supported by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC). They are a coalition which hope to enable people to talk freely about end of life planning, death and bereavement.

Throughout May, Dying Matters are encouraging people to use the hashtag #YODO, which stands for You Only Die Once, to get people talking openly about death, and how you can plan ahead to make the experience 'easier' for everyone.

What Can You Do?

Writing a will is one of the best ways that you can plan for the future. A will makes sure that any hopes you have to pass things on to your loved ones after your death will go to plan, it is the only way to ensure your loved ones receive exactly what you want them to. Failing to have a valid will means that your property will be passed on according to the rules of intestacy, and your loved ones may also face an unnecessary inheritance tax bill.

You can also plan ahead by appointing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This is a legal document which appoints certain people to make decisions on your behalf should they ever need to. An LPA can make decisions over your care, health, and finances should you ever lose capacity. This could be the case, for example, if you suffer a serious injury, or if you suffer from a condition or disease which means that you can no longer make decisions for yourself.

Other things you can do to plan ahead can include writing down your funeral wishes, or deciding whether or not to become an organ donor.

Our Deputy Head of Court of Protection, Wills, Probates and Trusts, agrees that talking openly about death and planning ahead is key;

"We often don't acknowledge that we all need to make arrangements for when we die. The Dying Matters Awareness Week 2015 theme of 'Talk, Plan, Live' encourages us all to think and discuss this – it's not as difficult as many people imagine to make a Will or put arrangements in place. Once that's done, you can get on with the important task of living well."

Taking Part

There are lots of events taking place throughout the week. For example in Birmingham, local undertakers 'A Natural Undertaking' are holding an event focusing on how you can make your end of life experience better. 'Death Cafes' are also being held across the country throughout the week, these are events where people can get together to drink tea, eat cake, and discuss death openly. The Dying Matters website can help you find out what's going on in your area.

Getting Advice

People sometimes choose to write their will without help from a solicitor, these DIY wills can often be done wrong and are therefore held to be invalid. If you're thinking of writing a will, or setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, it is always important to get advice from a specialist solicitor to make sure it is properly written.

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