Gary Rycroft - Interview
We spoke to Dying Matters Forum Chair, Gary Rycroft, about Dying Matters post-merger and the 2018 Awareness Week.
Where do you see the direction of the Dying Matters going in the next year?
I hope that for 2018 Dying Matters will be "business as usual" in terms of lots of communities up and down the country talking about death and dying and organising events and other fun ways to engage their family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. Whilst NCPC has merged with Hospice UK nothing has changed with regard to Dying Matters apart from the fact that the lead charity for Dying Matters is now Hospice UK instead of NCPC.
What would you say is of most importance to Dying Matters?
Dying Matters is first and foremost a social movement; it's about communities doing things for themselves and putting in place the support and information required to empower individuals to make the arrangements they want for themselves and their loved ones at the end of life.
What was it that got you involved with Dying Matters?
I'm a solicitor specialising in legal matters relevant to the end of life such as making wills, lasting powers of attorney and advance care planning. Some years ago I realised that whilst I may have had some legal skills, to really act in the best interests of my clients I should also reach out to others in the same space such as health and social care professionals, so we can all have joined up thinking. Dying Matters is a coalition of many and diverse individuals and organisations with the same aim to improve end of life care in its widest sense, so it was the obvious place to go.
What would you like to see from participants during Awareness Week 2018?
The best thing about Dying Matters Awareness Week is that it is not prescriptive; people should do what ever feels best for them and their communities. If the outcome of that is that an individual has a better death than otherwise would have been the case, then it will have been a success.
What best advice would you give for someone looking to write a will?
Once a person has decided to make a Will, the best way forward is to see an expert solicitor. It's a false economy to do it yourself or do it online or indeed use a person who is not legally qualified. Your Will is a very significant aspect of the way you will be remembered so, it really is worth getting it right. A simple Will should cost no more than £200-£300, so maybe not very much compared to the value of the assets passing to your chosen beneficiaries on death.