Health & Welfare
A lasting power of attorney for health and welfare is an important legal document under which you, the donor, appoint a person or persons of your choice, the attorney, to deal with and manage matters concerning your health and welfare.
When and how the power of attorney can be used
It is important to remember that with a lasting power of attorney for health and welfare you retain full control to make all decisions concerning health and welfare matters as long as you retain the capacity to do so. It is therefore only in a situation where you lack the required capacity to make the particular decision in question that an attorney acting under a lasting power of attorney for health and welfare can make such decisions on your behalf.
The decisions which an attorney can make include, for example, where you should live and who you should live with, the management of your day to day care, giving consent to or refusing medical examination and treatment.
Points to consider
You have control over:
- Choice of attorney(s). These might be family members, trusted friends or professionals.
- Whether, in the case of appointing more than one attorney, you appoint them jointly or jointly and severally. A joint appointment means that all your chosen attorneys have to act together and unanimously in connection with decisions that need to be made concerning your health and welfare. With a joint and several appointment, although you have appointed more than one attorney, each attorney can act separately and independently of each other.
- Whether your attorney has the power to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment. You will need to decide whether you wish to give your chosen attorney the power to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment or whether you do not wish them to be able to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment. These two options are extremely important and we would recommend that you obtain clear and independent advice in relation to this.
- You can tell your attorneys how you would prefer them to make decisions or give them specific instructions which they must follow when making decisions. A preference is a non-binding expression of wishes intended to provide guidance to the attorneys but any instructions must be followed exactly.
- Whether revocation of the lasting power of attorney is needed. As long as you retain your mental capacity you are free to revoke or cancel your lasting power of attorney for health and welfare at any time.
A lasting power of attorney for health and welfare is a powerful legal document and it is important that you should obtain clear and impartial advice before entering into the same. Please do not hesitate to contact your nearest office to speak to one of our specialist advisers for more information.