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Solicitors for the Elderly

Solicitors for the Elderly

87 per cent in the West Midlands leave life-changing decisions in the hands of strangers

  • Alarming new report reveals people in the West Midlands leaving major decisions about housing, assets and care to chance
  • 78 per cent want loved ones to make decisions in the event of illness or accident - but only seven per cent have created a lasting power of attorney (LPA) to enable this
  • People in the West Midlands are better at planning for death than later life; 37 per cent of people with a will vs. only seven per cent with an LPA
  • Michelle Gavin from Coventry law firm, Band Hatton Button, based in Warwick Road, urges the region to safeguard wishes in the event of accidents or illness like dementia

87 per cent of people in the the West Midlands 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 Michelle of Band Hatton Button, specialising in helping people plan for later life.

The report reveals that whilst 37 per cent of people in the West Midlands have a will in place to manage their affairs after death, only seven per cent 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 per cent 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. 85 per cent 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.

Michelle Gavin, partner and head of wills, trusts and probate at Band Hatton Button, said:

"The startling figures released in this report serve as a stark reminder of the importance of having a secure plan in place in the event of accident or illness.

"Setting up an LPA is a straightforward process which can help to avoid preventable distress at what can be a difficult time.

"Although planning for these sorts of events can be uncomfortable, it is important to do so in order to safeguard the wishes of the individual as well as help loved ones avoid costly court fees incurred from taking the process to court if there is no LPA in place."

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:

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