Often people tell me they are just far too young to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). And they always say it in such a reassuring way that I feel, well reassured frankly.
I am always intrigued by their reasoning though. For those not in the know, an LPA allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself. Fail to appoint someone and social services will make the decision for you. If that last line wasn’t enough to send you running to the phone to instruct your solicitor, keep on reading.
Usually people immediately think of dementia and tell me how they are too young for that, and in any case they play Sudoku, which allegedly fights off dementia. Interestingly someone new is living with dementia every 3 minutes, and around 40,000 people under 65 live with dementia in England alone. Some 850,000 people in England today live with dementia, and nearly 60% of them are women. Speak to anyone that cares for someone living with dementia, it will open your eyes.
Once we’ve talked about that we tend to move on to the subject of strokes. I know I know, I do have some cheerful conversations. Still, it beats talking about my stamp collection. Anyway, back on point. The Stroke Association says that someone has a stroke every 5 minutes, and 1 in 6 of us willhave a stroke. Just over 38% of first time strokes happen in adults aged between 40-69. Are you in that age bracket? More first-time strokes are occurring at an earlier age compared to a decade ago and yet still people see themselves as immune. That’s quite a blinkered approach especially when you think of the higher stress levels that we have in our lives today. How many of us eat healthily and exercise as much as we ought to?
Now, those that still believe ‘it won’t happen to them’, imagine this. Every 90 seconds someone is wounded by a brain injury. It could be from a fall or an accident. How age related is that?
Next let’s talk cancer – up to 75% of people with cancer experience cognitive problems during treatment, and 35% have issues that continue after treatment has finished. I bet that most people reading this will know someone who has had or has cancer. I’ll also bet they are not all old and ready for the knackers yard.
Why am I writing this upbeat, chirpy article? Because too few people know that if any of the above things happen to you, someone you love and trust cannot make decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself, unless of course you have made an LPA.
Without an LPA in place, a social worker or a healthcare professional, that probably doesn’t know you or anything about you, will make decisions for you based on what they believe is in your best interests. Just let that sink in for a moment. If it hasn’t sunk in yet I’d strongly recommend you read the last 6 lines again.
So, if you still think you’re too young for any of these things to happen to you then fine, but first consider this. You don’t take out car insurance after you’ve had an accident, and if anyone suggested that you did, you’d think they were daft. Equally, the point of making an LPA is to protect you against something that could happen to you in the future, not to manage your circumstances now while you are fit and healthy.
Get some legal advice and, once you have, if you are still happy for social workers and healthcare professionals to make life changing, and in some cases life sustaining (or ending), decisions for you, rather than those you love and trust, then that’s just dandy.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
Penn Chambers Solicitors
0207 183 1485