Numbers of dependent elderly are rising fast – Time to be proactive
According to recent research by Lancet Public Health Journal, and reported by the BBC, the number of elderly people needing 24 hour care is set to double by 2025. This puts the spotlight firmly back on why families need to be taking advice and planning ahead for the future, now.
There is already a growing pressure on the social care system in this country, but with people living longer, the need for specialist round the clock care for the elderly will also increase. Lancet’s research revealed that the number of over 65 needing round the clock care will rise by a third between 2015 and 2035, whilst those aged 85 and over requiring the same services is set to double.
For us in the legal profession, we will always advise clients to be more proactive in their approach to care later on in life. No one likes to think of getting old, never mind what would happen if we were no longer alive, however it is always better to make a plan, so that your family can help and support you during your lifetime and be aware of and respect your wishes.
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that can specify any wishes you may have towards your medical care, or who will look after your finances in the event that you will become unable to do so yourself. If you do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and you loose mental capacity to make your own decisions, your spouse or immediate family will not automatically be given the right to make decisions on your behalf and will have no legal authority to access your money/investments. This could be anything from managing rent or mortgage payments to paying for care. Without any Lasting Power in place, it is probable in this case that a Deputy will need to be appointed by the Court of Protection; in a similar role of attorney. So depending on the circumstances it may be up to a professional paid Deputy to manage your affairs on your behalf and unknown strangers to make health and welfare decisions they consider are in your best interests.
Before you ask your family about acting as your attorney, make sure they are fully aware of the implications it can have legally. You can read more about this from one of our previous blogs .
You should also make sure you have a will and that it is kept up to date. Around 60% of adults still haven’t written a will and it is really important that you do. A lot of people think a will is just about the end of life, or that they don’t have any significant assets to pass on. However, what many people don’t realise is that actually having a will makes the inheritance process much easier. Of course, that is, if you have the right people involved from the start.
Ultimately, no one knows what the future will hold and it is best to plan, be proactive and take control.
If you would like any further information relating to wills, powers of attorney or probate, contact Down Solicitors to see how we can help.