Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare might also be known as Medical Lasting Power of Attorney. With this, you give power to make decisions about your health, welfare and care if you’re not mentally capable.
Your mental capacity won’t be the same at every stage of your life. Though many people expect that they’ll make their own decisions until they reach the end of their life, the reality is that large numbers of people do lose their mental capacity.
If you’re no longer capable of making decisions about your own medical care, or your own health and wellbeing, these decisions can fall to an approved attorney that must act in your best interests.
Read on to discover more about giving Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
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Also known as Medical Lasting Power of Attorney, or Lasting Power of Attorney for Care, this is one of two types of LPA that can be given. The other is Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs.
With Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, some of the decisions made on your behalf can include who you spend time with, what you eat and what medical care you receive. Your attorney(s) can also decide where you live and what activities you should take part in.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney is a huge responsibility, and so you should appoint attorney(s) that you know will represent your best interests.
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney can be set up in advance. In fact it should, because you must send your LPA application whilst you are mentally capable. It only comes into effect once you’re no longer mentally capable of expressing your own choices.
Your attorney(s) must always make every effort to allow you to communicate your wishes. Something like a hand squeeze, blinking or eye movement can be valid communication. Attorney(s) can only make a choice on your behalf if they’ve already made every possible attempt to help you to communicate yours.
You must be mentally capable of setting up your LPA. This means that you can’t leave it so late that you’re unable to express your own wishes.
Nobody knows when they might lose their mental capacity. An unexpected accident could be enough to render you mentally incapable, even at a young age. It’s never too early to set up Lasting Power of Attorney, but there could be a time when it’s too late.
Of course, most people don’t think about setting up Lasting Power of Attorney. For many people, the everyday risk isn’t high enough to even consider it.
Most people set up Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney when they know that they could need it fairly soon, for example if they have a dementia diagnosis or another similar condition.
Lasting Power of Attorney forms are relatively self-explanatory, but make sure that you’re filling in the right forms for Medical or Health and Welfare LPAs and not for Financial or Property.
If you’re struggling to fill in your forms, or you’d prefer more support, you can seek guidance from legal professionals including your preferred solicitor.
You’ll need to name a Certificate Provider that is able to state that you filled in the forms whilst you were of sound mind. This should be a professional, like a lawyer or doctor, and must be someone that’s known you for at least two years.
Name your attorney(s), and ideally also some back-up attorneys that can take the role if your first choices can’t. You can also name people to notify, with these people hearing about your LPA application and having the chance to respond. Naming people to notify helps to ensure that you’re not filling in the forms under duress.
To apply for Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare, you will need to make an £82 processing payment. This fee covers the costs of setting up Lasting Power of Attorney.
If you earn less than £12k per year, you may get a 50% reduction in fees. With certain means-tested benefits, your fees may be waived completely. In order to apply for any reduction, you will need to provide correct evidence.
You can pay your fees for Lasting Power of Attorney online. You can also send a cheque – with your name on the back – along with your paper application. Alternatively, if you’d like to pay by card but don’t want to do this online, you can ask for a telephone call once your application’s being processed.
Someone with Lasting Power of Attorney in a Health and Welfare capacity must make decisions in the best interests of the donor. They may choose what the donor eats, where the donor lives and how they spend their time day-to-day. They must also make decisions about medical care and any hospital treatment.
Health and Welfare encompasses hobbies, clothing, room decoration, holidays and visits to family. Many of these things come with extra costs, so the Health and Welfare attorney may need to apply for money from the donor’s estate.
It’s the Financial or Property attorney that will have the power to approve this. Both attorneys can be different people, or the same attorneys can do both.
You can choose to have one attorney, or several different people in the role. If you have more than one, you must make decisions about how they will need to work together.
You can decide that attorneys must work jointly, getting together to discuss their decisions and making sure that everyone agrees. This can offer more protection, but comes with other drawbacks.
Making decisions jointly can take more time, and if one attorney passes away or decides to step back from their role then the others can no longer do what they’ve been asked and your LPA will become invalid. You can give attorneys the power to make any decisions independently.
This means that you must trust every individual to act in your best interests on their own, but does mean that decisions are made faster. Alternatively choose to have some decisions that people can make on their own, whilst others must be made as a group after thorough discussion
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with one of the UK’s leading LPA & Will-writing companies, and they are members of The Society of Will Writers, and they have already helped thousands of our readers get the right Will & LPA in place.
Choosing an independent adviser means they won’t recommend a scheme unless they are sure it is in your best interests. Their advice is also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
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