HEALTH & WELFARE LASTING POWER OF ATTORNEY
What is a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
It is a legal document which names the people you trust and want to deal with your Health and Welfare decisions should you lose mental capacity.
Why is a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney Necessary?
Lasting Powers of Attorney were created under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in order to protect those who have lost mental capacity.
This covers decisions regarding everything from your level of care to medical treatment, to where you live.
The Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used once you have lost mental capacity.
Who Makes Decisions if a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is Not in Place?
A number of different agencies could be involved, including Social Services, Local Authorities, and the NHS. These agencies will have no idea what your wishes would have been and they can make decisions which your family disagrees with and which you would have disagreed with.
By making a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney you nominate up to four people to act on your behalf. These people will be trusted by you and know what you would have wanted. They have a duty of care to make the correct decisions on your behalf.
You also decide whether you want your Attorneys to make decisions on life-sustaining treatment.
Even decisions of what foods you like and how you like your tea/coffee can be made by your Attorneys.
In other words, having a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place ensures your loved ones continue to look after your needs, instead of strangers. When Should I Make My Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
Unfortunately, loss of mental capacity can occur at any time, whether by accident, illness or the onset of dementia. It does not matter how healthy you are or how young you are. Just as a Will can only be made when you are alive, a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can only be made when you have mental capacity.
The answer to this question is - do not delay, act now.