Health and Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney

This type of Lasting Power of Attorney is not as well known nor, to date, as well used as the Property and Financial Affairs LPA. However the Health and Welfare LPA is very useful and provides peace of mind in relation to your personal well being and can give you control over your future medical treatment.

This LPA allows your attorney to make decisions on your behalf about your health and welfare if, at some time in the future, you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. A Health & Welfare Attorney can make decisions about where you are to live or your day-to-day care including your diet, who can and cannot visit you and what you wear.

More importantly, it allows your attorney to decide what medical treatment and care you should receive. This can include general directions for medicine that has not been tested on animals or certain treatments refused because of your religious beliefs. The document also gives your Health & Welfare Attorney the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. The form specifically requires you to make a choice as to whether you wish to do this, or not, and you need to state your intention clearly.

This is very important if you have already set up an Advance Directive or Advance Decision. If you rely on your Attorney to make these treatment decisions for you the Lasting Power of Attorney will overrule any previous Advance Decision. However, if you choose not to give your Attorney this power your Advance Decision will still stand.

Following a landmark decision in the Court of Appeal, doctors have a legal duty to consult with and inform patients if they want to place a Do Not Resuscitate Order on Medical Notes[1].

Guidelines for doctors already recommends that patients and families are involved in such decisions but the recent court ruling now makes it a legal requirement. It is therefore very important to make sure your relatives and the medical profession know what your decision is.

These matters require careful consideration and we have specialist solicitors who can take time to discuss your wishes with you in detail. Well thought out planning now can make difficult decisions in the future easier for you and your relatives.

 

[1] BBC – Legal duty over resuscitation orders


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