88% of people in the South East leave life-changing decisions in the hands of strangers

Published: 5th January 2016

An alarming new report reveals that people in the South East of England are leaving major decisions about housing, assets and care to chance.

86% of adults want loved ones to make decisions for them in the event of illness or accident - but only 12% of adults have created a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to enable this to happen. Adults in the South East seem better at planning for death than later life; 44% of adults in the South East have a Will but only 12% have an LPA.

88% of adults in the South East are currently living with no control over important later-life decisions regarding 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 David Roper of K J Smith Solicitors who specialise in helping people plan for later life.

The report reveals that whilst 44% of adults in the South East have a will in place to manage their affairs after death, only 12% 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.

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 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. 52% of 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.

David Roper, Senior Solicitor at K J Smith Solicitors said: "The majority of people think that if they suffer a life changing illness or a life changing accident, their spouse or next of kin will be responsible for vital decisions. However, the reality is very different as unless you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place your loved ones may not be able to make a decision for you in relation to finances or health care."

"A Lasting Power of Attorney 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 how you want any of your health issues to be treated, we would strongly recommend you to go to an expert to get the right advice and have an LPA in place."

This article was written by David Roper.

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