A survey was recently carried out by a think tank called Centre for Future Studies on behalf of Solicitors for the Elderly.
Two-thirds of people surveyed believe that their next of kin will be in a position to make medical and care decisions if mental capacity is lost. This is not true. Only medical staff would have the authority to make final medical and care decisions, and they can do this with or without the consent of relatives.
The research also found that there are estimated to be 12.8 million people in England and Wales over the age of 65 who are running the risk of at some point developing dementia. However, only 928,000 Health and Welfare LPAs have been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
If someone does not have a Health and Welfare LPA and/or a “Living Will” in place they will not be in a position to influence the medical treatment or care which they receive. Medical staff will continue delivering treatment where the person concerned might not have wished them to do so had they been able to express an opinion, and relatives will have no authority to make any medical or care decisions. Family members may therefore be left with the only available alternative, which is making an application to the Court of Protection. This is a complex, costly and ultimately uncertain process.
If you require any further information about Lasting Powers of Attorney covering Health and Welfare or Property and Affairs please get in touch.
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