A business partner or colleague is a long way down the list in the region when it comes to being trusted to make crucial decisions if an individual was ever deemed not mentally capable, according to a new survey.

Only one per cent of adults polled in the region in a YouGov survey commissioned by regional law firm Napthens said they would trust a business partner or associate to make decisions on their behalf if they were incapacitated. Some 66 per cent of those in the North West would trust their spouse or partner, 36 per cent their parents and 40 per cent their children.

Kathryn Harwood, Head of Wills & Estate Planning at Napthens, said: “We can’t emphasise enough how important a legally binding document such as a Lasting Power of Attorney is to get into place earlier rather than later.

“There are often crucial decisions to be made about a person’s life including business and finances so such a document provides clarity for all concerned, whoever is given the power of attorney.”

Lasting Power of Attorneys (LPAs) are becoming increasingly popular – allowing individuals to appoint a trusted person to make future decisions on their behalf if they were to lose mental capacity – and were up to a record of more than 800,000 last year.

There are two types of LPA, one which grants legal authority for decisions regarding financial and property affairs and can be arranged to take immediate effect.  A health and welfare LPA will only come into effect on incapacity and can cover day-to-day personal health matters right through to decisions regarding ‘life-sustaining’ treatment.