85% of adults in the South East leave live changing decisions in the hands of strangers
An alarming report at the end of last year by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly), the national organisation representing legal professionals who specialise in helping people plan for later life, revealed that 86% of adults in the South East would want a family member of friend to make decisions on their behalf if they were to become incapacitated. However, only 12% have created a lasting power of attorney (LPA) to enable this to happen. Few are aware that without an LPA in place, any individual’s affairs, such as their end of life wishes and health treatments, can be left in the hands of a third party (eg. solicitors, social workers, medical doctors, or the British Courts).
John Hawkridge from Hawkridge & Co Solicitors in Gillingham comments, “With an ever ageing population it is of great concern that such a high percentage of the population are currently living with no control over important later life decisions around their housing, assets, heath, and care.
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. I would therefore urge people to safeguard their wishes in the event of accidents or illnesses such as dementia by taking the appropriate advice from professionals.”
The report also showed that 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.
52% 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.
John and Mark Hawkridge of Hawkridge & Co Solicitors in Gillingham are both accredited members of SFE and are able to assist you with putting these matters in hands.
Mark comments, “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.
The Law for Later Life team at Hawkridge & Co would be happy to help you plan to safeguard yours or a loved one’s future.
Call 01634 575355 to arrange a free consultation with Mark or John