Crucial health and welfare decisions left to chance by 98% of West Midlanders
The vast majority of people across the West Midlands have no legal or medical plans in place for their future care if they become incapacitated.
Thursfields Solicitors has highlighted figures from a new, hard-hitting report by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) which revealed 13 million people across the UK are at risk of mental incapacity by 2025.
Tracy Ashby, a senior associate solicitor in Thursfields’ Wills & Estates department, said the study found 98% of West Midlanders have not made necessary provisions should they suffer from conditions like dementia, while another 36% have made no provisions at all for later life, including wills, pensions, funeral plans or lasting powers of attorney (LPAs).
The research found that 80% of West Midlanders are worried about dementia and losing the ability to make decisions for themselves, but 81% have not spoken about, or even considered, personal medical care or end of life decisions.
Tracy said: “At a time of crisis, families have to make huge decisions about a loved one quickly, while under a massive amount of stress, without knowing their wishes.
Having an LPA for health and welfare can provide reassurance for anyone facing dementia or similar illnesses, and the act of creating one can start useful conversations about the future with family and friends.”
The SFE report revealed that dementia was the biggest single cause of death in England and Wales, responsible for 12% of deaths in 2016, and that the number diagnosed with the condition had risen by 54% in ten years.
It also revealed that although 71% of people would like a family member to make medical and care decisions on their behalf as many as 70% incorrectly believed that their next of kin can specify what they would have wanted, and 69% of people incorrectly believe that their spouse has the power to do so.
Tracy, who is a full member of SFE, added: “It’s essential that people realise that decisions about their future are out of loved ones’ hands if a registered LPA for health and welfare is not in place.
Many of the delays and distress that families can go through can be avoided by appointing someone to speak for you when you are no longer able to speak up for yourself.”
For further advice please contact Tracy Ashby on 0121 6475269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org