More than 50 per cent of young people are unaware of the dangers of not having a legally binding document in place to protect important areas of their lives including business and financial affairs, according to a new survey from leading North West law firm Napthens.
Some 54 per cent of 18-24 year-olds and 53 per cent of 25-34 year-olds polled in the YouGov survey commissioned by Napthens didn’t know their future wishes could be threatened without a legal document such as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).
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.
Kathryn Harwood, Head of Wills & Estate Planning at Napthens, said: “This shows how we need to educate younger people about how important taking out a document such as a Lasting Power of Attorney is, particularly where they have a business to consider.
“These documents are also applicable where someone may lose capacity because of illness, an accident or another event as well as age and are entirely relevant to safeguard the future of your business and your family.
“Many people aren’t aware that their next of kin does not have an automatic right or legal entitlement to deal with the affairs of a family member. Only someone who is legally appointed as an Attorney can deal with the affairs of someone else.”
Conversely, some 77 per cent of over-55s in the Napthens survey said they knew how important it is to have documents in place to hand over decision-making on such issues.
Simon Ainsworth added: “The individual can appoint one or more Attorneys, but it is imperative that they are people that the individual can trust completely. We are seeing more of our clients taking out LPAs and we would urge anyone who is thinking about protecting their family and their business to take action sooner rather than later.”
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.