What is a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document that you should have in place before you actually need it.

It can be daunting making preparations for the future. Especially when there are legal processes involved.

However, trying to obtain a Power Of Attorney (POA) once you have lost mental capacity can be a lengthy and drawn out process that may not have the desired outcome. By ensuring that it is in place early. It gives you peace of mind that your best interests will always be looked after.

Having a Health and Welfare LPA in place is probably one of the most important documents that you could have. No one knows what the future holds. Knowing that whatever happens you will be looked after and cared for can bring you a sense of security that is priceless. 

What is a lasting power of attorney? 

An LPA is a legal document that allows you, as the Donor, to appoint one or more people that you trust to act as your Attorney(s). They will be able to make decisions for you should the time come that you are unable to make them for yourself.

Your LPA should be drawn up whilst you still have mental capacity. This is to ensure that you fully understand all of the decisions you are making and their consequences.

You will need to have a certificate provider who will also sign the document to confirm that you do have mental capacity and that you are not being pressured into making any of these decisions. 

Are there different types of LPA’s?

There are two different types of LPA. One that deals with your finances and property and a separate one that deals with your health and welfare. Ideally you would have both of these in place. 

What is a Health & Welfare LPA?

A health and welfare LPA would come into effect at the point that you lose mental capacity. Whether this be through an accident, illness or an age related disease, and are no longer able to make decisions yourself.

It allows your attorney(s) to make decisions surrounding all of your health, medical and daily needs.

It gives them the power to decide

  • Where you live. 
  • What medical care you receive. 
  • Plan your end of life care. 
  • Make decisions regarding your daily routine, such as eating and dressing. 
  • Organise your social activities.
  • Who you have contact with. 
  • If you allow them to, they can also make decisions regarding life-sustaining treatment. If you do not allow this then all decisions regarding any life-sustaining treatment will be made by your Doctors. 

You can set out instructions for your attorney(s) regarding how you want them to act. Including any of your own preferences that you would like them to take into account when making their decisions.

If you have more than one attorney you can set out whether you want them to make decisions jointly, or whether they are able to make decisions on their own (known as severally). 

How do I choose my attorney(s)? 

When deciding on your attorney(s) you should choose people that you trust.

Your attorney(s) will be making some big decisions on your behalf. So you should feel comfortable that they have your best interests at heart.

It can be helpful to have a conversation with them beforehand where you can set out your wishes and what you would like to happen in certain scenarios. You can also appoint replacement attorneys that can step in if your original attorney is unable to fulfil their role. 

Your attorney must be –

  • Over the age of 18
  • Someone you trust such as a spouse, family member or close friend. 
  • Someone that is capable of making decisions. 

How do I make a Health & Welfare LPA?

You can make your power of attorney without a Solicitor. Although it is advised to at least have a Solicitor check your documents before registering them, so that any mistakes can be picked up and rectified.

The forms must be completed in a certain order. Correcting mistakes once they have been submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian is more difficult and could require you to pay half of the application fee again. 

You can obtain the forms from the Office of the Public Guardian. Although you do not need everyone involved in the room at the time of signing. It can make things easier if you can do this on a day where everyone is available. 

  • For your LPA to be legal you will need to sign first and this must be witnessed. Your witness must be over the age of 18 years old and cannot be one of your attorneys.
  • Your certificate provider must sign next. They must be 
  1. Over the age of 18 years old. 
  2. A professional such as a Doctor, Solicitor or Social worker

Or 

  1. Someone you have known for over two years that is not a family member of yours or your attorney(s)
  2. They must not be an employee or business partner of yours or your attorney(s)
  3. They must not be the owner or employee of a care home where you or a family member resides. 
  • Lastly, your attorney(s) must sign. This will also need to be witnesses. Although you are not able to be their witness, attorneys can be witnesses for each other. 

Registering you LPA

Once you have completed your Health and Welfare LPA this must be submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used.

There is a cost of £82 to register this. The process takes roughly 9-10 weeks providing there are no mistakes or objections raised. 

Having a Health and Welfare LPA in place is probably one of the most important documents that you could have. No one knows what the future holds. Knowing that whatever happens you will be looked after and cared for can bring you a sense of security that is priceless. 

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