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Making a Lasting Power of Attorney – Health and Welfare
A lasting power of attorney (‘LPA’) is a legal document that enables a person (‘the donor’) to nominate someone (‘an attorney’), who they trust implicitly, to make decisions on their behalf regarding their health and welfare and property and finances.
Imogen D’Arcy, Solicitor in WSP Solicitors’ Private Client Department goes into more detail about LPAs and how you can safeguard your future by making one.
The different types of LPAs.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, which separately deal with decisions around health and welfare and property and finances.
The key difference between the finance LPA and the health LPA is that the finance LPA can be used whether or not the donor still has mental capacity. Whereas the health LPA can only be used if the donor no longer has the capacity to make decisions about their health and welfare.
Why do I need a health and Welfare LPA?
Lasting Powers of Attorney can be a benefit to a person no matter their age and can deal with someone losing capacity, especially unexpectedly. It is important to plan for the unexpected to make dealing with things easier for your loved ones if anything unexpected should occur.
This is something that popular television presenter Kate Garraway found out to her detriment during her husband Derek Draper’s long and drawn-out battle with Covid. Derek’s medical condition was such that he was placed into a medically induced coma and deemed to have lost capacity. At the time of hospitalisation, Derek did not have any LPAs in place. This meant that Kate did not have the legal authority to provide direction in relation to Derek’s care and medical needs. Instead, her husband’s medical team were making decisions for Derek based on his best interests, as opposed to any specific wishes that he may have had regarding his care and medical needs.
As there was no health LPA in place, it was necessary for Kate to apply to the Court to be appointed as Derek’s deputy so she could be involved in making decisions regarding Derek’s care and medical needs. The process of being appointed as a deputy for someone’s health decisions is very difficult. The Court process can also be a costly and lengthy procedure with no guarantee that the Court will appoint the person who has applied to be the Deputy.
Luckily, for Kate, her husband’s application was eventually granted. She is now his Court appointed Deputy. This arduous process could have been avoided if a valid LPA had been in place, which would have allowed the donor to have specified their wishes with regard to their care and medical needs.
When asked why the couple did not have valid LPAs during an interview with The Metro Kate said “We had a whole conversation and Derek said we have to appoint a power of attorney in case anything happens. He said I’d be his, and I’m sure I made some kind of joke, saying, “well, you’re not being mine” and we were laughing and having all these sorts of jokes. So, I know we’ve had that conversation. But it isn’t logged anywhere. Or if it is, I can’t find it”.
What decisions can a health and welfare attorney make?
A health and welfare LPA allows an attorney to make decisions regarding:
- Medical care and decisions
- Routine care such as washing, eating and dressing
- Where the donor lives
An attorney is authorised to spend the donor’s money on things that maintain or improve the quality of the donor’s life, this can include:
- Hairdressing and personal grooming expenses
- Decoration of a room in a care establishment
- Paying for extra support so the donor is able to improve their quality of life
How do I make a Lasting Power of Attorney?
We can assist you with preparing and registering your LPAs and can discuss any specific wishes or concerns you may have. Contact us if you would like to obtain further information or to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced practitioners who can help put planning in place for any unexpected events that may occur, to make things easier for you and your loved ones.
You can contact us here or by using the contact form on this page and someone will get back to you. Alternatively, you can call us on 01453 847200 to speak with our team.
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