28/06/2016

The YouGov survey for Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), the national organisation representing legal professionals specialising in helping people plan for later life, reports 4 out of 5 people in the UK are currently living with no control over important later-life decisions around their housing, assets, health and care.

We are better at planning for death than later life

The report reveals that whilst 39% of people have a will in place to manage their affairs on death, only 7% of people have made a lasting power of attorney.

Who will decide for you when you can’t?

84% of people would want their family or friends to make decisions on their behalf in the event they become too ill to make decisions for themselves. However, few are aware that without a lasting power of attorney in place, many families find major decisions about their spouse, parent or child are left to the court, medical professionals, or even a social worker.

Body urges to safeguard in the event of accidents or illness

Lakshmi Turner, Chief Executive of SFE, said: “Most people assume that if they suffer an illness or accident, their next of kin will be responsible for vital decisions. The reality is starkly different – loved ones may not be able to make a decision on your behalf unless you have an LPA in place.

“Our research reveals that most British people are completely unprepared for any event in which they lose the ability to make decisions for themselves. A will only kick in once a person dies, but an LPA dictate who makes crucial decisions about your finances and welfare while you are still alive.

“An LPA is by far the most powerful and important legal document an individual can have. If you have children, own a home, or have views on your preferred health treatment, we urge you to have one in place.

This is a specialist area of the law and we’re encouraging people to go to an expert to get the right advice.”

Safeguard your future

Creating a lasting power of attorney can be one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your future. It is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more individuals to manage your affairs, such as your property and finances or your health and care if you become too ill due to an accident or illness like dementia. It is the only way to ensure you control you will make these decisions for you in such circumstances.

The report’s findings are alarming. Too many people are failing to plan ahead and are leaving it all to chance. Creating a lasting power of attorney offers the opportunity to discuss who you would like to make decisions for you, and can also open up difficult, but more important conversations with family members on subjects rarely talked about including how you want your money spent, where you wish to live and your views on resuscitation.

If you would like to discuss lasting powers of attorney or any aspect of wills and estate planning law please contact Sarah Mellor on 01782 205000 or sarah.mellor@beswicks.com