~By Paula Murphy~
Most people are concerned about who will make financial decisions for them but few people are concerned about their health care and personal welfare. Only a handful of clients chose to make a Health & Welfare lasting Power of Attorney.
We have, however, been made aware by clients that they have had difficulty in persuading the authorities to respect their wishes in relation to a loved one’s personal welfare (even though they are that persons spouse) because they do not hold a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney covers decisions about health care as well as personal welfare. The Power of Attorney can only be used once the donor has lost mental capacity to make those decisions themselves. A Health & Welfare Power of Attorney would enable an attorney to make decisions about, for example, your daily routine (e.g. eating and what to wear) medical care, moving into a care home and life sustaining treatment. We are aware of a case recently where a client wished to care for her husband at home. The local health board felt he should be in a care home. The wife had a battle with the local health board to get a package of care in place to enable her to care for him at home. She only had a Property & Financial Affairs Power of Attorney not a Health & Welfare Power of Attorney. Had she had the Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney then her ability to make decisions on behalf of her husband which she felt were in his best interests could not have been questioned. Most people would prefer a trusted person to make those decisions on their behalf rather than having that decision imposed on them and their families by professionals. It is just as important to make Health & Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney as it is Property & Financial Affairs Powers of Attorney.
If you would like to discuss making a Power of Attorney with us then please contact Helen Phillips or Paula Murphy.