Wednesday April 24 2019



Village Features

Let loved ones know your final wishes

Posted on August 31 2018 at 11:04:19



Lickey Wills specialist Sue Jenden explains why you need a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.

The worldwide number of people living with dementia in 2015 was 47 million, and by 2030 that figure will reach 75 million. A new case is diagnosed every 3.2 seconds. 

In the UK the number of people being diagnosed has increased more than 50 per cent in the past 11 years, now standing at 540,000. It is estimated to be closer to 850,000 adding in the undiagnosed cases.

With 12.8 million people over the age of 65, one in 14 will develop dementia, with the cost to the economy more than £26 billion per annum.  Unpaid carers save the economy £8 billion a year.

Given these shocking statistics it is not surprising that there is a widening gap between the rising number of people likely to lose capacity and the relatively small number who have arranged a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (H&W LPA).

Only 3 per cent of the population have H&W LPAs registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

This suggests there are 12 million people at significant risk of losing mental capacity who have not made proper arrangements for their care in old age. Many are unaware of the risks.

The majority of people are still avoiding important conversations and practical actions to make their preferences known about their end-of-life care and final affairs.

We do need to talk about end-of-life care and what we would want if we found ourselves in circumstances where our quality of life is extremely poor.

Often people tell me they simply want to be comfortable, hydrated and well cared-for. If they have not legally empowered trusted individuals to make these wishes known, it could be that this is not what actually happens.

Part of the reluctance to make our wishes known is the misconception that the “next of kin”, a term widely used in health and social care decisions, has associated rights and responsibilities enabling them to act on behalf of an incapacitated relative. 

In fact, the term has little basis in law.

Consulting the next of kin is an expectation in many situations within health and social care practice, but the next of kin is not automatically empowered to make any decisions.

The authority to make decisions still lies with the professional within the health or social care system.

The lack of an authorised decision maker from within a person’s family or close relatives/friends can also complicate and even delay the resolution of important matters such as arranging care, finding suitable accommodation and dealing with the funding.

H&W LPAs are useful documents offering protection and control as they allow you to appoint your chosen attorneys. Conversations with relatives are important, but it’s also necessary to empower those chosen people in writing.

The best way to do this is to express your wishes in an H&W LPA and make advanced statements expressing your wishes on such things as your preferred setting for care, whether you want your spiritual beliefs taken into account, and even your food and drink preferences.

This eliminates doubt and gives legal validity to your choices.

Sue Jenden Associates can assist you with the practical steps of putting in place a H&W LPA. To reduce the financial strain on your loved ones we can help you with:

* Recording your funeral wishes
* Planning future care and support
* Making your preferences about organ donation known
* Telling loved ones your wishes
* Writing a Will
* Putting in place a Property & Finance Lasting Power of Attorney

Whatever your situation, you can contact us for expert advice:

Tel: 0121 445 5874
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