Did you know that there are two different types of Lasting Powers of Attorney? If you do – “top of the class”; if you didn’t know, well, you’re excused because most people do not know about the Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal tool that allows you to appoint someone to make certain decisions on your behalf. The appointed person (your attorney) can manage your finances for you in the future if you reach a point where you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. However, you can also make decisions relating to your health and welfare.
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 choose to make a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
We have, however, been made aware by clients that they have had difficulty in persuading local health authorities to respect their wishes in relation to a loved one’s personal welfare (even though, in some cases 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. In our opinion, therefore, it is just as important to make Health & Welfare Lasting Powers of Attorney as it is Property & Financial Affairs Powers of Attorney. We offer discounts when both types of Powers are made at the same time and for couples who want them done at the same time.
The benefits of making an LPA are numerous:-
- It can be reassuring to know that, if you are unable to make a decision for yourself in the future, your chosen person will make these decisions for you.
- Making an LPA ensures that the person you want to make the decisions for you will be able to do so. This prevents a stranger (hence the title!) or someone you may not trust, from having this power.
- An LPA can reduce problems that may occur in the future. It can be more expensive, time consuming and stressful for family and friends to try to gain a similar power in the future.
- Making an LPA can help prompt decisions with your family or others about your future wishes.
If you would like to discuss making a Lasting Power of Attorney with us, then please contact Helen Phillips or Paula Murphy.