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What Happens Before You Die? – Interview with divorce financial planner Paula Ryan.

What Happens Before You Die? – Interview with divorce financial planner Paula Ryan.

More people fear a painful death than fear the end of a longterm relationship or divorce.

The financial implications of the years preceding death, to the quality of care received – and what’s left for the family as inheritance – is an area often not thought about until it’s too late to improve the situation as effectively as you could have done if  action had been taken sooner.  Just as it’s important to make financial plans when a family goes through divorce, it is equally important to think ahead to when relatives will need you to support them in some way, or you will need someone to support you.

In this interview with Financial Planner Paula Ryan, she talks about how vital later life planning is and how some people do not understand the responsibilities that come with having Power Of Attorney.



“A good time to talk about later life care is before your parents, relatives – or you yourself – actually need any specific care or to make changes to your home or lifestyle.

Yet many people don’t stop to think about ‘the inevitable’ – let alone what happens during the run-up to one’s physical demise.

In one ComRes survey*, the top four out of seven fears people admitted to were around death :

 Dying in pain (83%)

 Dying alone (67%)

 Being told they are dying (62%)

 Dying in hospital (59%)

 Going bankrupt (41%)

 Divorce/end of a long-term relationship (39%)

 Losing their job (38%)

But with fears around death so high on people’s list, what about the possible 15 years or so run-up to that event? Apart from the practicalities of adapting or changing accommodation to allow for physical changes as well as mental ones such as dementia, what about the effects on the rest of the family if no planning is put in place?

People’s life circumstances are changing all the time so it’s important to make sure that not only do you have a long term plan, but one that can be adapted as those circumstances change.

If there is no preparation then that can result in the remaining family – spouse, children – being caught out financially.  Whether that’s in inheritance tax or by all the assets being used up by care costs.

One good thing to do is to have an open meeting with parents to talk about the consequences.  With situations where someone takes on the role of Attorney, there are lots of duties to carry out to make sure they meet the financial obligations.  For example, accounts must be kept, and for many those additional responsibilities are less hassle if they have the ongoing support of a financial planner who specialises in Later Life Care.

If you have Power Of Attorney, you are not obliged to use your own funds – but you are obliged to make sure that the person you are organising the care for has their money well managed to allow them to have the best possible care.  Getting advice from a specialist would seem more sensible than worrying about death, since fear often comes from a lack of knowledge or support.

Divorce is often a good time to reassess financial matters and to start thinking long term. It may be that the requirement for care for a parent might need to be included in the divorce financial negotiations.  Taking the first step to creating a good financial plan, simply involves a no obligation conversation.”

Powers of Attorney involve the referral to a service which is separate and distinct to those offered by St. James’s Place and are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


The first meeting is a no obligation financial review

07841 342387


Paula Ryan Divorce Financial Expert West Sussex


Paula Ryan DipPFS

Paula Ryan Wealth Management

Tel: 01293 553297

Mobile: 07841 342387




* ComRes Opinion Poll for Dying Matters’ ‘No Dress Rehearsals’, Aug 2011; as cited in ‘What do we know now that we didn’t know a year ago? New intelligence on end of life care in England.’ National end of life care Intelligence Network. 2012 (reviewed 2013).


The Partner Practice represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives.



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