Recent freedoms for people with pension savings provide more choice about how they can be used. 
If you are looking for a guaranteed income for life you can still buy an annuity. If you want more flexibility, you could take a cash lump sum and manage the rest of your savings throughout your retirement. 
There’s even free PensionWise guidance from the government if you’re over 50, to help you make good decisions, depending on your circumstances 
However, as you grow older, you might find yourself less able to make good financial choices. Ideally, we should all be prepared for a time when we no longer have capacity to make decisions. 
If you have chosen a drawdown option for your retirement, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) will allow you to appoint people you know and trust to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself. 
The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) oversees the LPA process. The most recent figures for applications to register Powers of Attorney (2018/19) showed an increase of 8.4% to over 835,000. However, there are still concerns that many savers could be at risk. 

Risks to your pension savings 

Scams – sadly, there are criminals who will take advantage of elderly or vulnerable people with savings. In fact, some are very convincing and credible, so we all need to be very cautious
Because so many people can now access large amounts of capital from their pension, scammers are actively targeting them. 
Vulnerability – as we grow older, we often slow down and it can take us time to absorb information and make decisions. This often happens slowly, and it can go unnoticed from day to day. It’s easy to believe that nothing has changed. 
With time and the right support older people can continue to manage their finances, but eventually someone else might need to take over. Rather than waiting until you reach this point, an LPA will mean that you have already made all the necessary arrangements to prepare in case that day comes. 
Sudden illness – any one of us could lose the ability to make choices for ourselves due to an illness or accident. By planning ahead, you can make sure that you and your loved ones are financially supported while you are unwell, thanks to your pension savings. When you recover, you can take control again. 

Is there an alternative to an LPA? 

If you don’t have an LPA in place, a friend or family member can apply to the OPG to make a single important decision or to become a ‘deputy’ to make ongoing decisions on your behalf. 
The application process can be lengthy and, compared with an LPA, will require much more involvement by your friends and family. 
Pension freedoms mean many more of us will be making important financial decisions further into old age than ever before. You can help others to help you, by putting an LPA in place. 
If you would like to know more about financial or welfare LPAs, please get in touch
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