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Power of Attorney – the family taboo

Three in four (77%) of those aged over 45 would consider giving a loved one power of attorney. But just two fifths (41%) have done so by the time they reach 75, according to a new report from pension firm Aegon.

Power of attorney is a means of giving someone you trust the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf in the future. It is used when people lack the mental capacity or no longer wish to make decisions for themselves. Dementia tends to be one of the main factors behind its use.

The majority of people entering retirement do not have any contingency plans in place should they be unable to make important decisions in later life.

Steven Cameron, pension director at Aegon said: “Discussing power of attorney can be difficult and highly emotive but it is far too important a subject to be sidestepped. No one likes thinking about a time when they won’t be able to make decisions for themselves and less than half of over 75s have made any provision.

“This suggests there’s still something of a taboo around the subject and it leaves a worrying gap in protection. Financial advisers are well placed to have the frank discussions about later life that could be difficult for family members. While they’ll typically refer Power of Attorney requests to solicitors, these discussions can form part of the broader discussion about how people wish to manage their finances in later life.”

 

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