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Plan for health, not just finances

Pensioners must do more to plan for health issues and not just focus on their future finances, a legal expert is warning.

The call, from Sean Aldridge, chartered legal executive in the Wills & Estate Planning team at Napthens solicitors, comes as Government figures show that more than 900,000 elderly people have registered lasting powers of attorney (LPA) since they were created in 2007.

LPAs allow people to appoint individuals to make decisions for them should they become unable to do so themselves.

There are two types of LPA – dealing with property and finance, and health and welfare. However, the same statistics show that only 20 per cent of LPAs registered relate to health and welfare.

Sean Aldridge of Napthens warned: “We always try to express the importance of both types of LPA. Some people register both because they want to cover all bases, and plan for any eventuality.

“This means that the individual appointed as an attorney can make decisions not only about property and finances, but health and welfare in general.

“If the only LPA registered covers property and finance, however, strictly speaking that is all an attorney can make decisions about. So when it comes to, for instance, which nursing home to go to or who visits them the attorney has no authority at all. Clearly this has serious ramifications.

“Health and welfare LPAs allow the appointment of a trusted individual to make decisions on important topics including where to live – home or a nursing home – and medical treatment including refusing particular types of treatment.

“It’s important to look at both types of LPA and make a proper decision about your future.”