Make it a priority
A lot of the suggestions on this page are very similar to information most adults in the UK should consider. The urgency for 3rd party victims of crime is two-fold. Firstly, you will want to ensure that your loved one – especially if they have a disability or you provide care – are protected. Secondly, the reality of the demands of caring and managing the huge number of admin issues associated with being a 3rd party victims of crime and the accompanying exhaustion can push these things way down the priority list.
Make a will
Making a will setting out your intentions for your estate is good practice for everyone. However, there are special rules that are applied if you are making provision for someone who is vulnerable. This can be financially beneficial in terms of inheritance tax. There is more information about Trusts and Taxes on this government web page.
If your loved one has struggled with debt, substance abuse or impulsivity, a sudden inheritance could cause them further issues. Consider how to manage their provision especially if you have more than one person to leave money or property to and how this might impact relationships in the future, especially without you there to support them. Dying intestate or leaving the contents of your will private until after your death might not be a good idea if this is your situation. Letting people know what you’ve done and the reasons why mean arguments about why child A can have a lump sum and child B has their money left in a trust so they can’t spend it all at once are probably better dealt with by you, whilst you’re alive.
Don’t assume you have nothing to leave. Your pension may include both death in service or death benefits, your home may have a mortgage but most mortgages have protection that will ensure the mortgage is paid off, even some social housing rental properties have conditions associated with inheritance attached to them. And we all have ‘stuff’ that needs to be disposed of or divided up amongst relatives.
The information from Money Saving Expert explains your options.
Some unions offer employees free wills as part of their services. If you are a union member, this is definitely worth checking.
Create a disaster fund
If it’s possible, create a savings account that you save a small amount into each month to cover time that you can’t work or if you suddenly need to travel or stay away from home.
Write stuff down
From the date that your car insurance is due to the passwords for your bank account, make sure that information that you carry around in your head is safely and securely stored but accessible to someone else in an emergency. It will not only help you to be organised but will save someone else a huge amount of trouble in the future.
Have a financial check up
Check you are on the best deal for energy, mobile phones and other annual bills such as insurance. Money saving expert has a huge range of information about making sure you aren’t paying more than you should and Look After My Bills offers an automated switching system that could save you time and money. However you pay for your utilities – even if you have a smart meter for electricity, a water meter or pay as you go for any of your essential utilities, make sure that the supplier knows that you live with someone who needs care or has a disability.
Consider if it’s possible or feasible to get life insurance, especially if you’re the main earner in your family. If you’re a full-time carer and your partner works, think about how much that might cost should you not be around to provide that care.
There is more information about money management on our finances page.
Have an annual health check
Get a flu jab – you’re eligible as a carer, prioritise screenings and make sure you get an annual health check from your GP. Make sure your GP is aware that you are a carer – many keep a register of their carers to make sure they receive information and invitations for health-screening.
If you haven’t had a carer’s assessment, then arrange this through your local authority. There is more information about this on our page called Your Rights.
The reality is that no-one apart from me and my sister have the faintest idea who her keyworker is, when her prescriptions need collecting or when her benefits are due. I carry so much information in my head and I really do need to get some of it written down.
Make an emergency plan
Many local authorities and carer’s groups work with carer’s to develop and document an emergency plan in the event of an accident or emergency. To find out what schemes are available in your area and for excellent advice look on this page of the Carers UK website.
If such a scheme doesn’t exist in your area, you’ll need to formulate one of your own unless it is very obvious that there is a second person who can step in.
Even if there is a second person, if you’ve been bearing the weight of responsibility for care, then making sure the right information and contact details are available to that second person will be reassuring. Information such as medical or support professionals contact details, dates of important meetings, reviews and financial information will ensure that care continues.
It’s important to discuss emergency plans and contingencies with primary victims of crime, as they will need to consent to their information being shared, especially if they are likely to worry, panic or focus on the thought of your demise. It’s wise perhaps to remind them that getting stuck in traffic, being delayed getting home from a holiday or falling over and breaking your ankle are far more likely events.