86% of people in the East Midlands 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 Helen Vorley from Astle Paterson Solicitors in Burton upon Trent specialising in helping people plan for later life.
The report reveals that whilst 44% of people in the East Midlands 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.
84% 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. 28% 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.
Helen Vorley of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate Department and a member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) said “A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you lack mental capacity at some time in the future or no longer wish to make decisions for yourself.
If there does come a time in the future when you don’t have the mental capacity to make a particular decision, and you haven’t created a valid LPA, it may be necessary for the Court of Protection to become involved.
Someone who wants to make decisions on your behalf can apply to the Court to be appointed as Deputy. This is a similar role to that of Attorney. However, you will not then be in a position to choose your Deputy and the process of appointing one can be lengthy and costly. Therefore it is much better to have an LPA in place in readiness for when the time comes that you are unable to make your own decisions.”
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.
Please contact Helen Vorley of Astle Paterson’s Wills & Probate department on either 01283 531366 or by way of email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss matters further.
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Astle Paterson, Clay House,
5 Horninglow Street, Burton upon Trent
Staffordshire DE14 1NG
Tel . 01283 531366
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