A new report has revealed that around nine out of ten adults in the West Midlands have not made adequate provision for their later life.
The latest research conducted by Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) found that a significant majority of people had failed to put their affairs in order.
The report found that over 90 per cent did not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place. This arrangement allows loved ones to act on their behalf in the event that the individual loses the capacity to make their own decisions.
A clear majority of those surveyed admitted they would feel better if a relative or friend was able to take decisions in these circumstances, but many were unaware that without going through the correct process, matters may be left in the hands of the courts, social workers or third party solicitors.
There are also concerns that even those who have made an LPA may be at risk if they had not sought expert advice.
It is estimated that over three quarters of those who have taken out an LPA did not seek legal guidance, instead relying on the internet or non-qualified advisors. This could create problems if the proper procedures have not been taken into consideration.
Lakshmi Turner, chief executive of SFE, said: “Most people assume that if they suffer an illness or accident, their next of kin will be responsible for vital decisions.
“The reality is starkly different – loved ones may not be able to make a decision on your behalf unless you have an LPA in place.
“An LPA is by far the most powerful and important legal document an individual can have.
If you have children, own a home, or have views on your preferred health treatment, we urge you to go to an expert to get the right advice.”