Is a lack of trust or a lack of understanding really behind the Co-op’s latest LPA survey?
A recent report from Co-op Legal Services has uncovered a worrying trend amongst the older end of our population. Their figures suggest 79% of those over 45s do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and the reason for this, according to Co-op’s commentary, is that those interviewed don’t have the required level of faith in their younger relatives’ ability to make financial decisions on their behalf when the time comes.
The figures themselves make grim reading. 74% of those between 65 and 74 and 67% of those over 75 have not appointed a lasting power of attorney and amongst the sample 35% of those interviewed say they never will.
Most worryingly 56% of people aged over 45 said the reason for their decision is that they didn’t trust their loved ones to make crucial decisions regarding their finances, property and care should they lose capacity to make those decisions for themselves (not least because 14% felt their family struggled to manage their own finances).
There is no getting away from the fact these figures are – on the surface at least – a concern.
However, having read the commentary we feel James Antoniou, head of wills at the Co-op, hit upon something interesting as he explained their findings. He believes lack of trust is a contributory factor but there also appeared to be a lack of understanding of what an LPA does and what the true benefits of having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place are.
And we’d agree.
While an LPA is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you if you’re no longer able to or no longer want to, it provides much more than just an opportunity to sign your assets over to someone else.
Imagine if you were to find yourself in hospital temporarily unable to pay everyday bills or no longer able pop out to the bank or post office or even access savings online? Or worse still if dementia has taken away your ability to make crucial decisions on how to take care of yourself long-term?
These are the types of circumstances that will require someone to step in to make potentially life-saving decisions on your behalf. We’d suggest you may want to look slightly wider to find someone you would trust rather than simply to dismiss LPAs out of hand because an obvious choice isn’t immediately apparent.
If you come to a decision please don’t forget that you can appoint your lawyers as your professional attorneys. This is a role we have performed for many clients when they’ve either been unable to choose who they’d like to appoint or where they wanted to give their preferred attorney a little more experienced support.
And these are decisions you want to make for yourself now while you are able; the last thing you want is for The Court to have to make the decision for you in the future or leave it to your loved ones to make (or have to find the money to support you unnecessarily) at what is likely to be a highly stressful and emotionally draining time.
More than anything, having everything in place will simply give you and your family peace of mind as you enter your later years.
If you would like to find out more about LPAs and discuss how to make sure you take full advantage of the security they offer, please call Eilidh Jordan on 0114 290 6206 or email Eilidh on Eilidh.Jordan@keebles.com.