Although your property and finances might be your main assets, your heath and welfare is likely to be just as important to you, particularly in later life. Therefore, it is worth considering appointing someone you trust you act on your behalf in relation to you health and personal welfare decisions, should you lose the mental capacity required to make these decisions yourself.
When considering who to appoint as your attorney, you should bear in mind that the attorney will only be able to use this type of Lasting Power of Attorney (‘LPA’) if you lack the capacity to make decisions for yourself, and not before. Accordingly, you should only appoint someone who knows you well enough to take your views into account, particularly if you have strong views on a particular type of treatment or have strongly held views or beliefs that should be taken into account when making such decisions.
A registered health and welfare LPA gives authority to the person or people you choose as your attorney’s to make decisions about the following important issues:
• giving or refusing consent to medical treatments;
• whether or not you stay in your own home, and the type and level of help you receive from social services;
• having an input into when you might move into residential housing and choosing the appropriate care home; and
• day-to-day issues, like your diet, clothes and appearance and your general daily routine.
As any one who has had experience of dealing with the local authorities or care homes in relation to a relative or friend will know, the little things like daily routine can be very important to the person lacking capacity, but without an LPA, the attorney will not be able to have any say in how these decisions are taken and the treatment received.
As with most things, preparation is key and you need to have a registered LPA in place prior to suffering any capacity issues, a bit like an insurance policy. If you think that an LPA for Health and Welfare would benefit you or someone you know, then please contact a member of the Wills, estates and tax planning team or email [email protected] or call 01737 854 500.