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Incapacity crisis looming as 97% in the South East leaving important decisions to chance

Jul 27, 2018

A new report from Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and independent think tank, Centre for Future Studies, has revealed the UK is in danger of an incapacity crisis.  With the ever increasing number of those living with dementia combined with a high number of people not planning for the eventualities of the future Caroline Johnstone, Private Client Lawyer, here explains why this is inevitable unless people start taking action. 

The report, based on research conducted by the two organisations, shows that 75% of people in our region are worried about dementia and the consequences on their lives, but 80% have not spoken about, or even considered, how to prepare for making decisions on their medical or end of life care.

“We completely appreciate that these conversations are ones that people would rather avoid, as considering our own mortality or mental capacity is daunting and upsetting,” begins Caroline.  “We cannot stress enough though the importance of making these plans while you still can, to ensure that your wishes are heard and acted upon, instead of leading to a lengthy and costly battle for your loved ones.”

How does a Lasting Power of Attorney prepare for mental incapacity?

There are two different types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA); a Property and Affairs LPA and a Health and Wellbeing LPA.  “The Health and Wellbeing LPA is the focus of the research and report from the SFE, and refers to decisions regarding your health and social care, such as where you will live, day to day care, whether you wish to be an organ donor and consent to medical treatment,” continues Caroline. 

“While 71% of people would like a family member to make medical and care decisions on their behalf, it is concerning that 68% believe that their next of kin can automatically specify what they would have wanted if they lose mental capacity, which is incorrect.  Decisions of this nature are out of their hands without an LPA in place.”

If a person is no longer able to make decisions for themselves, without an LPA their loved ones would need to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputy to be appointed; a decision which is solely in the hands of the court and may not be the one you know your loved one would have wanted. 

“It is encouraging that LPAs are now beginning to have the attention that creating a Will has had over so many years,” concludes Caroline.  “A Will takes care of the division of an estate, so our physical assets, once we have passed away, but an LPA takes care of our health, welfare and finances while we are still alive.  By 2025, more than 13 million people who are at risk of mental incapacity will not be prepared.  This is a staggering figure and one that must be resolved by more of us having these conversations as none of us know what lies around the corner.”

If you are considering drafting an LPA, Caroline and the Private Client team can provide you with independent advice based on your own personal situation, and can explain the options available to you.  To book your appointment, contact Caroline or the team on 01329 222075 or email privateclientenquiry@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.