There are two different types of LPAs, and both help to protect your affairs should anything happen to you. Here's why the Health and Welfare LPA is worth considering to protect your future.
Lasting Powers of Attorney have been in existence since 2007. They allow you to appoint the people you choose to act with legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make those decisions yourself. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA): The Property and Financial Affairs LPA, and the Health and Welfare LPA.
A Property and Financial Affairs LPA gives your Attorney - the person or persons you choose to act for you - the authority to deal with your assets and investments, to manage your income and expenditure, to look after your pensions and taxes, and other financial matters of yours. They may also buy and sell property on your behalf.
The Health and Welfare LPA is a new concept which enables you to delegate decision-making around your medical treatment and day-to-day care to those you know and trust.
It may be straightforward to understand the advantages of making an LPA that helps to keep your Property and Financial Affairs in order but it is often more difficult to appreciate the benefits of making a Health and Welfare LPA.
What is a Health & Welfare LPA?
All attorneys are under a duty to make decisions in your best interests. Unlike a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, attorneys acting under a Health and Welfare LPA can only make decisions on your behalf if you have lost the mental capacity to make such decisions yourself.
The types of decisions that Health and Welfare attorneys may be involved with include daily routine, such as washing, dressing, eating, and social activities. It could also include medical care including requests for treatment to be given or withdrawn, such as moving into a care home or who you have contact with.
Another important aspect of the Health and Welfare LPA is the potential to give authority to your attorneys to consent or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf.
Why should I get a Health and Welfare LPA?
Should you lose mental capacity or be unable to manage your financial affairs, someone, usually a family member or, if necessary, the Local Authority, will have to apply to the Court for a Deputyship Order which will permit them to make decisions on your behalf. This process is complex and lengthy and can be expensive as ongoing annual fees apply. It may also be necessary for the Deputy to make further applications to the Court for permission to act in the sale of a property, for example.
By arranging your LPA now, you get to choose who you want to act for you, and you can give them guidance as to your wishes in advance. This might include what bills to pay, how to deal with your investments, or the type of care you would like in the event of life-threatening illness.
What if I lose mental capacity and don’t have a Health & Welfare LPA?
If you do not have a Health and Welfare LPA in place:
Decisions made about your personal welfare when you have lost mental capacity are usually made by the people who are looking after you such as carers, social workers and medical professionals.
Although acting in your best interests, professionals may make such decisions without any knowledge of what your own wishes would be or taking into account your own preferences or dislikes;
Whilst some medical professionals may be willing to discuss certain aspects of care and medical treatment with close family members others will not do so without a Health and Welfare LPA in place;
If you lose capacity, Social Services may become involved in determining what they feel is the most suitable accommodation and welfare arrangement for you;
If disagreements arise, for example about where you live or about medical treatments, relatives and friends may find that their views are not taken into account in the decision-making process (even if they know your wishes well).
If a serious dispute arises your relatives or friends would have to accept the decision or apply to the Court of Protection for an order to become your Deputy. This is a lengthy, expensive and often stressful experience;
You may receive medical treatment or be resuscitated against your wishes.
A Health and Welfare LPA is an important document which gives clear authority to your attorneys when dealing with GPs, carers and medical professionals on your behalf.
Our Attorney Service
Often people will ask members of their family to act as their Attorney, but if you don't have a suitable family member, or you'd prefer to appoint a professional to act for you, that's where we can help. Our Legal Team will arrange to become your Attorney and ensure the decisions you make come to pass, should you become unable to make them yourself. We can give you lots more information about our service on request.
Here at Chesterton House and Woolley Beardsleys & Bosworth, many of our clients have been with us for decades, trusting us to manage and protect their welfare and assets. Dealing with us is easy, you can simply send us an enquiry, pick up the phone, or send us an email and we will arrange an initial chat with one of our Team.
Knowing that all of your affairs are in order is one more step on your journey to financial freedom. It's one we'll be delighted to help you make.
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