The majority of adults in the West Midlands are leaving their financial and health-related affairs to chance according to Co-op Legal Services, as four in five people (82%) don’t have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in place*.

A Lasting Power Attorney is the legal document that allows a trusted person to manage an individual’s affairs in the event they lose mental capacity. Yet almost a third of adults living in the region (27%) don’t know what an LPA is and a further 58% were unaware that there are two different types: one covering property and financial affairs and one to cover health and welfare wishes, including where you’d like to live and any personal medical wishes.

Putting a Lasting Power of Attorney in place is often considered to be of as much importance as drawing up a Will, yet research finds that over half (52%) of adults in the West Midlands have made a Will in comparison to just 18% with an LPA in place. With one person developing dementia every three minutes in the UK it’s expected that over 1 million people will have the disease by 2025, emphasising the significant importance of an LPA**.

James Antoniou, Head of Wills at Co-op explains: “The findings highlight that vast numbers of people are unaware that there is no automatic right for a next of kin to have authority over an individual’s affairs. If an LPA is not in place and a person becomes unable to make decisions, it can lead to a long and expensive process that involves applying to Court.

‘’At Co-op Legal Services, we advise that an LPA is put into place at the same time as a Will. Both are crucial parts of later life planning and can help to alleviate stress and worry for loved ones further down the line.’’

As well as the option to solely take out a Lasting Power of Attorney, Co-op also offers a range of Estate Planning Packages as part of its #AWill2TackleCancer campaign to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. These include a professionally drafted Will and Lasting Power of Attorney for a discounted price, compared to when bought individually. With every #AWill2TackleCancer Estate Planning package sold, Co-op will pay 10% of its fee (excluding VAT) to Cancer Research UK