What is a Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare ?
Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare are one of those documents which may be no use at all, but if they are needed, they are crucial.
They dictate who makes health and welfare decisions for you if you are not able to do so yourself, in a time frame which is right for the circumstances.
Lets take a couple of examples.
1) Your are not well and Social Services decide that you do not have the ability to make your own decisions. They decide that you need to be in a nursing home, against your wishes. Your family don’t agree but they have no authority, without the Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare or a Court of Protection order.
Would you not rather have your family, who know you well to protect your interests? Please don’t think this is a criticism of social workers, they do their best for you but they are always under pressure and they will never have the time to get to know you as well as your family does. The Health and Welfare LPA gives that authority to people you select rather than to paid public servants.
2) You are taken into Eastbourne District General Hospital for a minor operation and something unexpected but fairly minor is discovered which needs to be sorted out fairly quickly. The doctors will usually wait until you wake up and ask for permission to carry out the new procedure.
On the other hand, the surgeon might find something which is immediately life threatening and if he waits to wake you up, it might be too late. On the other hand, the procedure could turn you into a vegetable. The surgeon can’t consult you, without risking your life. Your family can’t approve the operation as they have no authority (without the Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare.) The Court of Protection could be called upon to make the decision but you may be dead by then. The attorneys you chose to appoint under your Health and Welfare LPA could make the decision otherwise the doctor will make the decision.
If your loved one does not have the Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Welfare in place, you can ask the Court to appoint you as a Health and Welfare Deputy but only around 20% of such requests are granted and at very significant cost – even if your family fail to be appointed as Deputy. We at Eastbourne Law think that the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is an essential part of your protection if you are over 18. Why not get the ball rolling?