What is a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

If you make a Lasting Power of Attorney, you can ensure that someone you trust has the power to act in your best interests, should you be unable to make certain decisions. Prestige Tax and Trust Services asks: What is a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney?

Health and Welfare Attorney

To create a Lasting Power of Attorney, you must complete and submit forms to the Office of the Public Guardian and then register your Attorney with the same governmental department. Why should you make a Lasting Power of Attorney? When you take this step, you give someone the right to make certain decisions on your behalf. You ensure that someone you trust can act in your best interests, should you lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions on your own.

There are two kinds of Lasting Power of Attorney; Property and Financial Affairs Attorneys and Health and Welfare Attorneys. We are going to look at Health and Welfare Attorneys. This type of Attorney only gains the power to start making decisions for you concerning health and welfare matters if you lose the mental capacity to consider these issues for yourself. It is vital that you understand the powers and duties associated with this role to make sure you choose a suitable Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.

Duties and powers

Under UK law, your Health and Welfare Attorney will have the power to make decisions concerning your medical care, living arrangements and daily routine e.g. diet. It is important to note that your Health and Welfare Attorney will not have the power to sell property on your behalf e.g. to pay your care home fees, unless they are also your Property and Financial Affairs Attorney.

Your Health and Welfare Attorney cannot decide whether you should receive life-prolonging medical treatment, unless you give them permission in your Lasting Power of Attorney application. We should also note that you can state which medical treatments you do not wish to receive via a legal statement called an ‘advanced decision’ – often referred to as a ‘living will.’ If you have created a living will, your Health and Welfare Attorney is obligated to take this into account when executing decisions.

It is essential that you ensure the provisions outlined in your living will and in your Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney application match. If they provide opposing instructions or there is doubt or disagreement about whether you should receive treatment, your Attorney may need to apply to the Court of Protection in order to gain the power to make a decision on your behalf. Based in London, the Court of Protection is the final arbiter on welfare and finance matters for people who lack the mental capacity to make these decisions for themselves.

Prestige Tax and Trust Services

You provide someone with a lot of power and responsibility when you complete a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. Therefore, it is advisable that you enlist specialist legal expertise when handling these matters. The Prestige Tax and Trust Services team possesses the skill set and expertise required to help you make an effective Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney.

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