Reasons to choose Wilson Browne
What is a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney and is it worth while having one?
Whenever anyone mentions ‘Lasting Power of Attorney’ many automatically assume that it relates to making financial decisions on someone’s behalf. Although it is very common nowadays to make a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs, fewer people seem to consider putting in place a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.
But should decisions relating to someone’s health or wellbeing really be considered less important than decisions relating to their finances?
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone (an ‘Attorney’) to make decisions in relation to your health and personal welfare. An Attorney must at all times act in your best interests.
A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used if you have lost mental capacity, meaning that you remain in control of your health and welfare decisions until such time that you can no longer make those decisions for yourself.
Health and Welfare decisions made by Attorneys can vary from deciding where you live and who you live with, your daily routine or what care plan you are on (if so necessary), to making decisions in respect of life sustaining treatment – including whether to consent or to refuse to that treatment.
You may have certain wishes and requirements about what you would and would not want to happen in certain situations. Unfortunately, your next of kin does not automatically have authority to make those decisions. Doctors always have a duty to consult with the family, but without a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, they are under no obligation to go with the families opinion. This means that you may have to undergo treatment that you would have never of consented to or be placed in a care home that you would have never of chosen to go into yourself.
Having a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney would mean that your wishes and requirements would continue to be carried out, even if you are no longer in a position to express them yourself. This means that the final decisions would not be left to the doctors or to social services, but in fact to those you have entrusted with your future welfare.