Alarming new report reveals people in the South West are leaving major decisions about housing, assets and care to chance:
Lesley Austen urges people to take action to safeguard their wishes in the event of accidents or illness like dementia.
86% of people in the South West 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 Lesley Austen from Veitch Penny specialising in helping people plan for later life.
The report reveals that whilst 49% of people in the South West have a will in place to manage their affairs after death, only 8% 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.
82% 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. 65% of the people 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.
Lesley Austen comments “When dealing with important issues such as making a will or an LPA, it is vital to obtain advice from a properly qualified professional to ensure that all relevant options are considered and the resulting document both reflects your wishes and protects your interests.”
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:
If you wish to discuss your Will or LPA in a free no obligation chat please contact Lesley Austen at our Crediton office on 01363 772244.