86% of people in the Yorkshire and the Humber 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 Tom Morrish from Morrish Solicitors specialising in helping people plan for later life.
The report reveals that whilst 39% of people in Yorkshire and the Humber 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.
85% 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. 38% 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.
James Shingleton, Solicitor at Morrish Solicitors, said: “I specialise in advising people on LPA’s, Wills and Probate matters. When I became a solicitor, I immediately became a member of SFE, with a commitment to spend 100% of my time on advising elderly and vulnerable people.
The statistics do not surprise me. We are always here to help people who wish to discuss LPA’s, Wills and many other issues which people find it hard to talk about. Planning for the future is very important. There is no time like the present .By not taking matters into their own hands, individuals and families are at risk of seeing an outcome that they would never have anticipated.”
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