When it comes to Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), most people will have heard of, or possibly even made, an LPA in relation to their property and financial affairs but will not have appreciated the importance of putting in place an LPA in respect of their health and welfare.
Recently, there were reports of a woman, who was a qualified nurse, being arrested for taking her 97-year-old mother out of a care home when she wasn’t legally able to due to the fact that her mother only had an LPA for property and financial affairs, not for health and welfare. This incident highlights the importance of having a health and welfare LPA in place, not only during the coronavirus pandemic but also afterwards.
What is a health and welfare LPA?
A health and welfare LPA ensures that the people you choose, be that your partner, family member or a trusted friend, understand your wishes and can make decisions on your behalf when you lack the mental capacity to make these yourself. Without one, your relatives may be unable to make critical decisions regarding your health and welfare.
What happens if I lose mental capacity in the future and don’t have a health and welfare LPA in place?
If you lose mental capacity and don’t have an LPA in place, social workers and medical professionals will act in what they believe to be your best interests. However, this, of course, may not reflect what you would want.
A health and welfare attorney has the power to make decisions on your behalf about your daily routine, medical care, moving into a care home and life-sustaining medical treatment. It can allow you to sleep easy in the knowledge that your wishes will be respected and that your loved ones will not have to suffer additional stress on top of an already difficult situation.
When should I make a health and welfare LPA?
To be effective, an LPA must be put in place while you still have mental capacity and has to be registered with the Court of Protection. The registration process usually takes about two to three months to complete (although the Office of the Public Guardian have recently stated that they are experiencing delays in registering and returning LPAs).
When making a health and welfare LPA, you choose the people you would want to be able to speak to social care and health care professionals on your behalf if you were not able to do this for yourself.
You have to state whether or not you wish your attorneys to be able to make decisions on your behalf regarding life-sustaining treatment, and, if you wish, you can include guidance and/or instructions to your attorneys.
How Nelsons can help
For more advice or information in relation to the subjects discussed in this article, please contact Davina or another member of the team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.Contact us