Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare
A power of attorney allows you to give someone you trust the legal power to act on your behalf, if in the future you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself – either due to an accident or an illness for example. The person making the power of attorney is called a donor and the person appointed to act on their behalf is called an attorney.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
- Property and Financial Affairs LPA
- Health and Welfare LPA
In this article, we are going to be looking at an LPA for Health and Welfare and some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this type of LPA.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare?
Unfortunately, there is a common assumption that our next-of-kin will be able to make medical and care decisions for us if we are no longer able to. However, this is not the case unless you put a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place. Instead, a family member or loved one could be faced with applying to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship order.
Furthermore, this could result in Social Services becoming involved in decisions regarding where you should live and what care you receive.
Setting up a Health and Welfare LPA will mean that you have put in place a legal document that allows the Attorney to make decisions on your behalf (the donor) regarding health and welfare matters, such as medical treatment and the provision of care including life sustaining treatment. It can also cover day to day matters such as diet and routine.
It is worth putting an LPA in place early on, as you can only set one up while you still have the ability to weigh up information and make decisions for yourself, which is known as ‘mental capacity’.
Why should a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney be put in place?
- Keep control – You can choose who will make medical and care decisions for you, and it will not be left up to other individuals such as social workers and Doctors. Your Attorney is there to act in your best interests, bearing in mind all they know or what you will have previously communicated to them about your wishes and beliefs.
- Avoid Conflict – Disagreements amongst family members can be avoided as they will understand your expressed wishes.
- Save money and time – If you do not have a Health and Welfare LPA appointed, an application to the Court of Protection maybe required which can be an expensive, stressful, and time-consuming process.
Seeking appropriate legal advice.
Whilst the number of enquiries regarding setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPAs) has seen a recent increase during the Covid-19 pandemic, research suggests that only 22% of people in the UK have an adequately drafted Lasting Power of Attorney set up.
By creating a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, you can have some certainty over what would happen to your healthcare should you reach a stage where you can no longer make independent decisions. However, ensuring the document is correctly drafted and registered is vital. According to ‘Which’ – the Consumers’ Association, The Office of the Public Guardian rejected nearly 22,000 applications for Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) in England and Wales in the last year.
These documents must be well-drafted to be effective and the rules regarding the applications can be complicated. At Parker Arrenberg, we can offer you expert and cost effective legal advice on all matters concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney. We can also provide legal advice and guidance on the Court of Protection and have the knowledge and expertise to provide expert advice on the Mental Capacity Act 2005. We can advise on all stages of the assessment process, make applications to the Court of Protection or provide guidance on the appropriate solution should disputes arise.
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