The Office of the Public Guardian is launching a new campaign tackling the myth that family members can automatically make important financial and medical decisions on a loved one’s behalf if they lose the capacity to make decisions themselves.
At the heart of the campaign is a series of films that show real life stories of those who are using a Lasting Power of Attorney to preserve their family bond.
The campaign has been created by Stack, which was appointed to the account in December, and documentary filmmakers Agile Production. It follows the release of figures that show a number of misconceptions around the rights that family members hold.
According to the study, 72% of people incorrectly believe their next of kin always gets the final say in treatment decisions if a person is unable to make decisions for themselves, while 73% incorrectly believe that if a couple have a joint bank account and their home is in joint names, one person can legally make the decisions for the other if they lose the ability to make decisions for themselves.
Only a Lasting Power of Attorney can provide people with the legal ability to give those they trust the power to make decisions on their behalf if they lose mental capacity.
The first film features Michelle and her mum Daphne. As Daphne gets older it is important to both of them that Michelle is the one to make key decisions should Daphne be unable to do so.
The second film focuses on Emma, who has brought up her son Martin and his brother on her own. In her words, “her sons have always been her life” and now as Emma’s getting older she wants to know that should something happen, her boys can also be her voice.
In the third film we meet Ken, who has always been a rock for his mum Alice ever since her husband passed away. Now she’s dealing with vascular dementia, Ken can legally make important decisions for Alice should she need him to.
Ken and Alice’s story is particularly pertinent, with the number of people living with dementia in the UK set to rise to 1 million by 2025. Without a Power of Attorney, their loved ones could be powerless in helping them make important medical decisions or plan for the future.
Each film will be hosted on the OPG’s Power of Attorney campaign page. The films will be supported by outdoor and social media activity, as well as simple instructional videos that show how starting an LPA can be quick and straightforward.
OPG head of communications Lucy Denton said: “Everyone should have the opportunity to plan for their future on their own terms, with the people they trust the most. We want everyone to be aware of how they can do this with a Lasting Power of Attorney. That’s why we’re launching this campaign to raise awareness of LPAs and counter some of the common misconceptions around them.”
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