This article was last updated on 1 June 2021.
In this guide, we discuss the Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is being discussed more and more by families who want to ensure that the future is more certain for themselves or their elderly relative.
Without one in place, you could find that your personal wishes are unable to be provided for should you lose mental capacity in the future.
Unfortunately, this important provision for old age is often overlooked until it’s too late to put one in place.
Here you’ll find lasting power of attorney health and welfare guidance that should help you to determine whether a Health and Welfare LPA, or a medical power of attorney as it is sometimes known, is right for you and a loved one. You’ll also learn how to put a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare in place.
We have answered some of the most important questions you should be asking below.
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way to plan ahead for mental incapacity. It involves appointing someone you trust (usually a family member or friend) to act for you when you cannot make decisions by yourself. This LPA for health and welfare guide will help give you the information you need to make an informed decision on powers of attorney.
You can choose one or more trusted friends or relatives to act as your attorneys. They will be responsible for making sure that your wishes are carried out, and can make decisions on your behalf . You can also choose which decisions they will be responsible for.
Unlike a property and financial affairs attorney, an LPA health and welfare can only be used when you are mentally incapable of making your own decisions – so putting one in place now will not jeopardise your independence.
If you wait too long you may find that you are unable to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney – so it’s important to make provisions now for the future.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney. One is responsible for your assets and financial affairs – this is known as a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs. The other type is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
An LPA health and welfare enables a nominated family member or friend to make decisions on your behalf regarding your day-to-day care and wellbeing. These include:
The responsibilities listed above will directly affect you. For this reason, it is very important that the person you choose as your LPA for Health and Welfare is somebody you know and trust.
Any person over 18 with mental capacity can appoint an attorney to make decisions on their behalf if they lose capacity. You should make it known to your loved ones that you have made an LPA, and tell them what personal decisions your attorney will be able to make.
Who you choose as a welfare LPA is an important decision. Your attorney LPA will be making decisions on your behalf including about your medical treatment and care. Therefore they should be someone you have known for a while and trust, for example a family member or loved one. You might want to appoint the same person as your property and financial affairs attorney, as lots of the decisions attorneys make may overlap the categories.
Attorney power of health does not cover decisions about your property financial affairs – but it’s important to remember that your nominated person may need the legal right to access to your personal finances so that they can arrange your care easily for you.
This is why many people set up both types of Lasting Power of Attorney for health and for property simultaneously, appointing the same person to look after each.
Here is a video on what a power of attorney is for health and welfare.
You can see the original video on the health and welfare power of attorney here.
It is our advice that everyone should make appropriate provisions for their future care as they approach old age, before they lose mental capacity. This ensures that your wishes are granted and you are looked after in the way you would like.
A LPA for health and welfare can also save your family members the upset and frustration of not being able to get involved in your care and making decisions that benefit you when you don’t have mental capacity.
Arranging a health and welfare LPA is particularly important for any person who has been given a diagnosis of a degenerative illness, including Dementia, that will cause them to lose mental capacity and not be able to make decisions in the near future.
Although it’s a stressful time and these things are unpleasant to contemplate, putting a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare in place now is the only way you can be sure you’ll be looked after in accordance with your personal wishes.
You can set up a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare at any time in life – not just as you approach old age.
As part of the power to make decisions, if stated in the legal document, an attorney can make medical decisions for someone without medical capacity. This is only if the person does not have a living will, or has been sectioned under Mental Health Act. To do this, the attorney must show the care staff the donor’s LPA, then sign consent forms before they can make decisions for the donor.
We always advise that you use a specialist, like a solicitor, to produce an LPA. They will ensure that your interests are always protected and you have peace of mind that everything is in order.
There are two options for you to consider.
We have created a directory of advisors that specialise in helping people create a Lasting Power of Attorney. The directory has advisors listed from all over the country. You can access the LPA directory here.
If you do not feel confident in choosing an advisor, you can leave your details below, and we will find an advisor for you. We do not charge for this service and it is absolutely free.
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is designed to give you some control when you are unable to make decisions yourself.
Therefore failing to have a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place can have significant consequences for you and your family.
The absence of a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney means that your family members and loved ones will be unable to make decisions how you live or are cared for. Small examples of this include the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the clubs you attend.
More significant examples of what a power of attorney LPA may include making decisions about the type of medicine treatment you undertake, the type of care you access and personal questions like where you live.
Social care provision is one of the main reasons people set up a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. They trust their family members or friends to make decisions about the best home or provider for them – and don’t want that decision to be made by strangers or social services staff.
If you need to get power of attorney LPA but you have left it too late, the only option you have is to approach the Court of Protection. This process allows a court to give you responsibility for someone’s decision making. You can read more about the Court of Protection here.
Here is a short video that explains what the court of protection is.
You may find it necessary to apply to the court of protection for medical decisions where either the donor’s loved ones disagree with what medical professionals say about treatment decisions, or where the LPA and the living will say different things.
The donor can change their mind and take away the attorney’s authority to make decisions on their behalf whenever they please, as long as they still have capacity.
If you have registered the document already, you have say to the OPC that you have changed the LPA. If it is not registered, the donor should destroy the document and make it known to anyone the LPA was relevant to that they have gotten rid of the LPA.
You can also appoint a new attorney, or change the amount or authority an attorney has whenever you please.
Health and welfare powers of attorney can be obtained and filled out independently, without solicitors.
However, it’s advisable to enlist professional help from a solicitor when completing the lasting power of attorney for health and welfare form.
This is because an LPA is a legal document, so filling out these forms incorrectly could mean your application does not stand and cannot be used at a later date when it is too late to make other arrangements.
If you are unsure, you can obtain the Lasting Power of Attorney for health and welfare form and take a look before seeking advice on whether specific elements as needed.
Just like the property and financial affairs LPA, you need to make an attorney of power while you still have mental capacity. You must register the LPA with the office of the Public Guardian (OPG). You can register the arrangement yourself, or you can get an attorney to do it on your behalf.
You can either use the online service to register the LPA, or fill out sections 12-15 on the paper forms you used to make your LPA, and send it to the office of the public guardian. The donor must also send the registration fees with the forms.
Normally, you can expect it to take 8-10 weeks for the Office of the Public Guardian to register the donor’s power of attorney arrangement. However, the process will take longer if there were mistakes in your application.
It costs £82 to register an LPA, so to do health and property and financial affairs will cost £165. If you get support from solicitors or another professional, this could cost around £500. This will be reduced for example if you are on benefits or have a low income.
You should get your LPA document registered as soon as possible after you have filled out the forms. If you lose mental capacity and it is not registered yet, there will be a delay, and so the person you selected will not be able to act on your behalf until it is registered. This is a problem is there are decisions that need to be made quickly, such as whether or not to consent to treatment. Also, if there are mistakes in the form, you can correct them when you still have capacity as many times as you please, but if you lose capacity and the LPA is not registered with the office for the public guardian, then you cannot correct the document and your LPA will not be valid.
More Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare guidance can be obtained from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Age UK.
Some solicitors also offer free drop-ins. These can be especially useful as you can ask legal questions and obtain professional advice without paying any fees.
If you’d like further Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare guidance you can read plenty more information here on the UK Care Guide website.
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