How a health and welfare LPA can help you and your family
A health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows someone else to step in to make decisions for you, should you ever lose the ability to do this for yourself.
The document is signed while you have mental capacity, then kept in case it is ever needed. If you remain able to manage your own affairs, it will never be used. However it is a safeguard that would be helpful to your loved one if it was needed.
Why make a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?
A health and welfare LPA allows you to choose a trusted friend or relative to help you out, should this ever be necessary. Putting this type of LPA in place allows you to select the person you want to deal with personal matters for you. In addition it gives you the opportunity to discuss with them in advance the sorts of decisions you would like them to make on your behalf.
What authority does an attorney have under a health and welfare LPA?
You can choose what decisions you would like your attorney to make for you. This will generally include issues such as:
- Where you will live and whether you will move into care
- What your day-to-day life will look like and who you will see
- What help you will have
- What medical treatment you will receive
- What care or treatment will be refused on your behalf
You can tailor the LPA to suit your requirements. You can inform your attorney how you would prefer them to act in particular situations. It is open to you to appoint more than one attorney if you wish. You can specify whether you wish them to make decisions together. Alternatively you can choose for them to make decisions unilaterally.
What happens if I do not have a health and welfare LPA?
Should you lose the capacity to make your own health and welfare decisions, your family will not be able to make these for you without legal authority. They would need to apply to the Court of Protection to become your personal welfare deputy. This is a time-consuming and far more complex process than putting an LPA in place.
Can someone with dementia make a health and welfare LPA?
You need to understand the effect of the LPA that you are signing. Someone with dementia may have the capacity to make a health and welfare LPA. However they need to have adequate understanding of the situation at the time when they sign.
A certificate provider will also sign the document. They are confirming that the person signing has the mental capacity to sign and that they understand the implications of signing.
What duties does an attorney under a health and welfare LPA have?
Your attorney is required to observe the provisions set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in dealing with your affairs. This includes acting in your best interests at all times.
When making a decision on your behalf, they should take into account what you would have considered yourself as well as your wishes and feelings, both at the time and as you may have expressed in the past.
Can a health and welfare LPA be used while I still have capacity?
No. The LPA can be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian once it has been made, but can only be used on the loss of capacity.
You can choose to have a number of people notified if the time comes when the LPA will be used. This is a safeguard that allows them to object if they have concerns.
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