Attending to end of life issues is never easy, but one thing is certain: failing to address them will undoubtedly increase the difficulties that one's family and friends will have to face when inevitable happens.
Leaving a tidy estate generally involves two things: making a Will and writing a Letter of Wishes. Patricia C Byron has written two books, Last Orders and The Good Will Guide, to help you tackle both.
To hear why only writing a Will is not enough, and the importance of writing the much neglected Letter of Wishes, listen to author's interview with Jenni Murray on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour as they discuss Last Orders.....
The Essential Guide to Your Letter of Wishes
By Patricia C Byron
This is a book intended to assist anyone and everyone. It deals with that perennial taboo, the subject of death. It is not a will, nor should it be considered as such. It is however, the essential guide to producing your Letter of Wishes and which, once completed correctly, should save incalculable amounts of stress to those you leave behind and take most, if not all, of the guesswork out of the administration of an estate. It will offer a vast amount of helpful information about whom your executors should contact, the funeral you would wish for, your finances, your belongings, and even your pets.
This book is simple yet comprehensive.
Its usefulness cannot be overstated.
You may not feel you need such a book, but consider this scenario: Imagine your child, sibling, or friend is executor to your will. When the sad time comes to wind up your estate, where would they start? Would they be able, for example, to answer the following questions:
Who do you wish to have informed of your passing?
Is there a family cemetery plot and where is the paperwork to support that?
Where are the deeds to your house?
Where is your will?
Have you registered as an organ donor?
Who has spare sets of keys to your house?
Who knows the code to your burglar alarm?
Or does your home have a safe? Who knows the code?
Who is to take care of your pet poodle Pandora?
Equally important, who do you not want to take care of Pandora???
There are over 100 simple, but pertinent questions which need to be answered by you in Last Orders. Those answers will eradicate doubt and offer clarity to the executors of your will and those you leave behind.
Last Orders, then, fulfils a number of roles:
It is a guide book which will prompt you to consider various aspects of end of life issues
It is a document in its own right which needs to be completed; therefore one copy is required per person
When the time comes and the book is needed by your family and executors, it will serve as a checklist or aide memoir to remind them of your wishes and the practical issues which tend to get neglected in the Will-making process.
In researching Last Orders, Patricia C Byron consulted with solicitors, funeral directors, the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners, The Law Society, MENCAP, but perhaps most telling of all, is that she has personal knowledge and experience of administering estates.
Since its launch in the Spring of 2010, and following the author being interviewed on the BBC's Radio 4 Woman's Hour, Last Orders sold out and went to reprint. It has since become a staple item for those wishing to put their affairs in order.
Along with the general public, there are now law firms within the UK Legal 500 using Last Orders for their Will-making clients as well as members of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners, Will writers, estate planners and independent financial advisors.
NUMBER 1 IN
LAW FOR THE LAYPERSON
PROPERTY & FAMILY LAW
DEATH & BEREAVEMENT
THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO YOUR
LETTER OF WISHES
23.4 x 15.6 Paperback
Published in April 2010 by Stellar Books
£6.49 FREE P&P
The Professionals' reviews of Last Orders
"This was recommended to me by a patient at the hospice where I work. It is essential reading for somebody who wants to get everything in place before saying their
"Likely to be one of your best investments ..."
EDINBURGH LAW FIRM
"An indispensable aid to anyone who has to tackle the affairs of a loved one especially at a time of grief. For the executor, it will be a tremendous time saving exercise..."
"For guidance on making end of
life provision, we particularly
like the book Last Orders, by
Patricia C Byron, which has sections to fill in that guide you through leaving a letter of wishes detailing funeral arrangements and other concerns."
"Reading this as a hospice educator I really liked it. It fits in well with the whole Advance Care Planning and Dying Matters agenda in the UK in a practical and human way"*
"A splendid little book which steers a person throught the essentials "
LONDON TAX ADVISORS
Readers' reviews of Last Orders *courtesy of Amazon
"It may be tricky to recommend this to your nearest and dearest but if they love you they should fill it in. ......Every possible question has been considered and posed and anyone who completes this book can die knowing that their successors have had their difficult task made as straightforward as possible and the possibility of sibling disagreements almost eliminated."
"This is a brilliant book, a marvellous idea and a must to go alongside
"I have just had to organise my elderly mother's affairs after her death ... so glad that using "Last Orders" will save my family the complications and worries I had to deal with."
"An excellent book which could be of great help to the family. Fill it in, put it somewhere safe and forget it...The family will find it when it's needed."
"A difficult subject made easy."
"excellent aide memoir would recommend everyone should complete - save a lot time and anxiety for loved ones left behind."
"It seemed to make such good sense to note down all the important details of one's life ... from where the keys are kept to what kind of funeral one would like ... before it is too late to tell anyone."
"excellent for my needs"
"This is an extremely helpful book with an amazing
range of topics. Anything that can make life easier for your
executors, especially in their time of grief,
is the greatest gift you can leave them."
"This made an old lady very happy!"
"This is simply the best idea I've seen in ages. It covers absolutely everything in a clear and simple way. If you've gone through the trouble of producing a Will then you should definitely get 'Last Orders' and complete the job. It's a 'must have'."