Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare
Making plans for how you want to be cared for in the future could relieve stress and pressure for your family one day. Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare now will make life easier should you ever lose the power to make decisions.
What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document appointing one or more trusted people to be your attorney(s). An attorney can make decisions on your behalf should it ever be necessary.
There are two types of LPA and you can draw up one or both. A ‘health and welfare’ LPA appoints an attorney to make decisions regarding medical treatment and long-term care as well as life-sustaining treatment. This type of LPA can only be exercised once you can no longer make your own decisions and it enables you to state your wishes and advance decisions within the LPA.
A ‘property and financial affairs’ LPA gives your attorney the power to make decisions regarding your bank accounts, bills, benefits and pension or buying and selling a house. This type of LPA can go live as soon as you give your permission – for example if you wish to get your attorney involved in making current financial decisions.
An LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.
Who are the people involved in making a Lasting Power of Attorney?
There are various key roles in setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney. The person setting up the LPA, on whose behalf decisions may be made in the future, is the donor. The person who will make the decisions on your behalf is an attorney.
You will need a certificate provider, who signs to certify that at the time of signing the LPA you understand what it means and its implications. You will also need witnesses to confirm that the stated people on the LPA have signed it in front of them.
Finally, the LPA will name people to be notified, which states a list of people and organisations that need to be told once your LPA is active. This is optional, but gives people the chance to object to the LPA if they have any concerns about it.
Because an LPA is a legal document it is always helpful to seek professional advice to ensure the paperwork is completed correctly.
Can one Lasting Power of Attorney cover health and money?
A health and welfare LPA works differently from a financial LPA, which is why you set them up individually. A Financial LPA applies immediately, allowing you to make decisions with your attorneys about big financial matters.
But a health and welfare LPA only becomes effective once you have lost mental capacity – for example, if you have had a life-changing illness or injury. It allows your attorneys to make decisions about your medical care.
What could happen if I don’t set up a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
People choose to set up a Health and Welfare LPA for reassurance that their wishes will be respected, and so that their loved ones can avoid additional stress at a difficult time.
If you don’t have a Health and Welfare LPA in place and you become unable to make decisions personally, then your spouse or family members must apply to the Court of Protection to make those decisions for you. The process is to apply for a Deputyship order, but this is expensive, time consuming and is only ever granted in specific circumstances.
Can a donor change their mind about a Lasting Power of Attorney?
You cannot amend or update an LPA but you can revoke the LPA and make a new one to reflect the changes, provided you have mental capacity to do so.
An LPA comes to an end when the donor dies. A property and financial affairs LPA could also end if either the donor or an attorney becomes bankrupt.
How can Expression Wills help me complete a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
We specialise in supporting our clients to consider all the options when it comes to planning for the future. We advise on wills, estate planning, setting up Power of Attorney and more.
Our expert team will explain why an LPA makes sense and support you through each step, from appointing attorneys through to submitting the signed LPA to the Office of the Public Guardian.
Contact us today to set up a free introductory chat about LPAs and how we can help.