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Can your lawyer really help you plan for the future?

Argo prides itself on thinking differently when advising our clients. We take a fresh approach to client needs by thinking about the whole situation rather than one particular issue. We believe in working collaboratively with other services to ensure our clients receive a joined up solution to their problem. We believe we lead in the way in which we provide our services to our clients and stand out from the crowd.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care's 2016 policy paper "Our commitment to you for end of life care" states that 470,000 people die each year in England and it is anticipated that this figure will increase by 20% over the next 20 years. Planning for the future is not going to go away.

Death is one of life's certainties and therefore planning for a long and happy old age is vital for all of us. We need to make sure that we are having the difficult conversations that are no go areas and discuss the sensitive subjects. These do not just need to be had within a family but also with professional advisers. We need to know about your assets, your liabilities and your tax position but we also need to know about you, your vulnerabilities and your worries. Retirement planning is simply not about money. It's about you and your family. Your finances and your health.

It is no longer acceptable for lawyers to advise clients in isolation about a will or power of attorney. All areas of end of life overlap. Lawyers already work with accountants and financial advisers but they also need to be working with care home providers, healthcare professionals, therapists and social services. You simply cannot advise in respect of a will without understanding how care needs will impact on planning. You cannot advise on lifetime planning without understanding how capacity can affect what you intend to do. without considering these issues proactive planning can just fall apart.

When you are looking for an adviser you need to make sure they know the answers to your problems. You need to make sure they know about care not just tax. They need to know about end of life planning not just tax planning. They need to know about what happens if you become unwell and cannot remain at home. They need to understand the financial burden this places on a family and what can be done to mitigate this. You need to make sure they have the experience to advise you. Never be frightened to ask them about past cases they have advised on, the type of clients they act for. Ask whether they are members of Solicitors for the Elderly or the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. Ask whether they will see you at home because travelling to the office is hard for you. Ask whether they work on fixed fees rather than hourly rates. Most importantly find someone you can have a relationship with and feel comfortable having sensitive and difficult conversations with. You and your lawyer should have a long term relationship not a one off transaction relationship.

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