85% of people in East of England leave life-changing decisions in the hands of strangers
Alarming new report reveals people in East of England leaving major decisions about housing, assets and care to chance
87% of those questioned in East of England said they want loved ones to make decisions in the event of illness or accident – but only 7% have created a lasting power of attorney (LPA) to enable this
People in East of England better at planning for death than later life; 43% of people with a will vs. only 7% with an LPA
SFE member Clare Wills from Wills Jacobsen Legal urges UK to safeguard wishes in the event of accidents or illness like dementia
85% of people in the East of England region are currently living with no control over important later-life decisions around their housing, assets, heath, and care, according to a new report by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly), the national organisation representing legal professionals such as Clare Wills from Wills Jacobsen Legal, who specialise in helping people plan for later life.
The report reveals that whilst 42% of people in the East of England have a will in place to manage their affairs after death, only 7% have a lasting power of attorney (LPA) in place to safeguard their wishes in the event they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves, due to accident or illness like dementia.
87% want a family member or friend to make important decisions on their behalf, in the event of illness or an accident. However, few are aware that without an LPA in place, any individuals’ affairs, such as their end-of-life wishes and health treatments, can be left in the hands of third party solicitors, social workers, medical doctors, or the British courts.
Even the minority of people that have taken steps to plan ahead for later life may still be at risk, due to poor quality legal advice and invalid documents. 71% of those with LPAs in place did not use experts or legal guidance, instead taking a gamble using online resources, non-legal advisers, or off-the-shelf kits.
Many clients are simply unaware that if they have an accident or become ill, their next of kin will not automatically be responsible for looking after their affairs. An LPA allows loved ones to make vital decisions. It is really important that an LPA is drafted correctly as it simply will not work if it is not. Clients should also take proper legal advice when making an LPA to ensure they have considered everything before appointing an Attorney.
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.
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 go to an expert to get the right advice.”
SFE is an independent, national organisation of professionals, such as solicitors, barristers, and chartered legal executives, committed to providing the highest quality of legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers.
To download the report ‘Who will decide for you when you cant?’ go to: http://www.sfe.legal