88% in North West Region Leave Decisions in Hands of Strangers

08/12/2015
Author: Judith Bromley

  • Alarming new report reveals people in North West region leaving major decisions about housing, assets and care to chance
  • 78% want loved ones to make decisions in the event of illness or accident – but only 6% have created a lasting power of attorney (LPA) to enable this
  • People in North West better at planning for death than later life; 31% of people with a will vs. only 6% with an LPA
  • SFE member, Judith Bromley from Bolton based, Russell and Russell Solicitors urges UK to safeguard wishes in the event of accidents or illness like dementia

88% of people in the North West 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, including Russell and Russell’s wills and probate team, who specialise in helping people plan for later life.

The report reveals that whilst 31% of people in North West have a will in place to manage their affairs after death, only 6% 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.

78% 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. 32% 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.

“These are alarming figures”, explained Judith Bromley, head of wills and probate at Russell and Russell. “As more of us are living longer, there’s a greater risk of people developing degenerative mental illnesses, such as Dementia, so it’s really important to think about what you need to do to secure your future if something like that happened.”

Lakshmi Turner, Chief Executive of SFE, added: “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

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