Have you made a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is often viewed as essential in respect of property and financial affairs. However, do we think about decisions on our health and welfare?
Last month, my son was injured in a cycling accident. The importance of having a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney was brought to the forefront of my mind. Fortunately, his injuries were not too serious but it made me think about what could have happened. If he had been left with life-changing injuries, what rights would I have to make decisions about his health and welfare if he had lost capacity?
Many people think that their next of kin has an automatic right to decide how they are treated. Often people think that they would be involved in any decisions about their care.
However, the law does not give the next of kin this automatic right. Your doctor is entitled to do what is felt to be in your best interests if you were to lose capacity. Doctors, carers and healthcare professionals can make decisions on your welfare. They can decide whether talking to your family and disclosing confidential information about you is in your best interests. Alternatively, they may decide that your family members should not be too involved and contact adult social services instead.
Like my son, you may have very personal views in respect of life-sustaining treatment and resuscitation. Without a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, doctors will have the final say on this decision. If a Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is in place then your attorneys will make the decision and will be able to express your wishes.
A Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is also important for couples who are unmarried or for those where non-relatives are closer than family members. Partners or close friends, who are not named in a Lasting Power of Attorney, do not receive confidential information from doctors and healthcare professionals.
You may already have a Lasting Power of Attorney to cover your finances. But, isn’t it time to consider your future health and welfare?
“Isn’t it time to consider your future health and welfare?”
At Ellis-Fermor & Negus Solicitors, our clients have the assurance of dealing with well qualified and experienced lawyers. If you need a Will, Power of Attorney, trust advice or help when a loved one has died, contact a member of the team who will be happy to advice you.
If you would like to speak to a member of our Wills & Probate department for further advice, do get in touch.
This article was written by Director and Private Client Solicitor, Grace Steele, Wills & Probate Solicitor, Kim Kirk, and Wills & Probate Specialist, Joanne Fletcher, for July’s issue of Derbyshire Life.Back to News