A recent report by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) – a UK legal organisation that focuses on issues such as housing, assets and care – has identified that less than 10 per cent of the population make a lasting power of attorney (LPA).
Conducted by YouGov, the survey used for SFE’s report revealed that only seven per cent of respondents made the move to make an LPA, despite the fact that 84 per cent wanted a family member to make decisions for them in the event of an illness or incapacitating circumstance.
The figures mean that the majority of people have made no arrangements for how their affairs will be managed in later life, or if they are ever unable to do so.
Without an LPA in place, an individual’s affairs – including end-of-life wishes and medical treatment – can be arranged by third party solicitors, social workers, medical professionals or the British courts.
Furthermore, those who have taken steps to plan ahead for later life may still be at risk due to invalid documents where the application to register them is made only after loss of capacity.
This is particularly important when it is considered that out of the seven per cent who have made an LPA, more than half did not use a solicitor or seek professional legal advice as part of the process.
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.”