Who makes decisions about your health if you are incapacitated?

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Setting up a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows someone you trust to act on your behalf should something arise in relation to your health or wellbeing. Your chosen person can then manage your affairs in your best interests. This could be in the long term or until such time that you are able to take the reins again yourself.

Making medical decisions for someone who has become incapacitated or ill can be a complex and emotional process. It can be very difficult for a spouse, partner or children to decide what is the best course of action to take, especially if they are not sure what the person’s wishes and expectations are.

The person who makes the LPA is known as the donor and the person to whom the decision-making power is given is known as the attorney.

health and welfare lpa

Health and Welfare LPA

A Health and Welfare LPA (sometimes known as a Healthcare Power of Attorney or a Medical Power of Attorney) ensures your personal wellbeing can be considered in the event of any incapacitation. This could include:

  • What medical treatment you receive
  • The type of care you get
  • Where you are cared for
  • Other requirements such as what you eat and how you are dressed

Any decision made by your attorney should be carried out in your best interests.

When making the LPA, you can set out instructions and preferences that you would like your attorney to bear in mind when making decisions on your behalf.

Life-sustaining treatment

You will need to decide whether you want to give your attorney the power to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment. Otherwise, your healthcare team will make these decisions on your behalf based on what they believe to be the best course of action for you personally at the time.

Who should I choose to be my Health and Welfare LPA attorney?

Most commonly, attorneys are partners, family members or friends, although you can choose anyone to be your attorney, provided they are over the age of 18.

Your attorney should be someone you know and trust and who you believe will act in accordance with your wishes and preferences. It is also important to remember that your attorney may have to make difficult decisions on your behalf so they should be someone who understands your values.

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An LPA avoids the distress of a delay and also preserve your assets to pay for the care you may need in the future.

With Just Wills & Legal Services, setting up an LPA is a straightforward process. Whether in your own home or online via video our team of expert consultants can help you prepare your affairs exactly as you wish, protecting you and your family.

If you would like further details or would like to arrange an appointment please Contact us

number of attorneys

Can I have more than one attorney?

Yes, there is no limit to the number of attorneys you can have. Sometimes having more than one attorney is helpful because it shares the burden of making difficult decisions among a group of people, rather than everything falling on the shoulders of one person. You can also nominate replacement attorneys to step in if any of your attorneys die. We recommend a maximum of four attorneys for practical purposes.

If you have more than one attorney, they can act in the following ways:

  • Jointly – all attorneys must make all decisions together. This means that if a medical decision needed to be made but only one attorney was contactable at the time, said attorney would not be allowed to make the decision on his or her own. If one attorney dies, the LPA becomes invalid and the remaining attorney(s) will no longer be able to make decisions.
  • Jointly and severally – acting jointly and severally means that your attorneys can act together or on their own. If only one attorney is available, e.g. because the other attorney(s) are otherwise engaged, they can make a decision on their own. Moreover, if one attorney dies, the others are still able to make decisions.
  • Jointly for some decisions and jointly and severally for other decisions – for this method to work you must specify which decisions must be taken jointly and which can be taken severally. If you have not stipulated, the attorneys will act jointly.

Who do I need to notify when I make a Health and Welfare LPA?

You are not obliged to notify anyone that you are making an LPA. However, you have the option to notify up to five people. Each person will be sent a letter and will have three weeks to raise any objections.

Advantages of an LPA

If you haven’t set up an LPA, your loved ones could end up having to make difficult decisions or pay out a lot of money on your behalf. The Court of Protection would have to appoint a deputy to manage your affairs, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

advantages of an lpa

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