Loss Of Mental Capacity
Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney
Many of us now understand the advantages of making a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, fewer recognise the benefits of making a Health and Welfare LPA.
Both types of LPA enable you to appoint someone of your choice (your “Attorney”) to act with legal authority on your behalf to make decisions if you should ever become unable to do so yourself.
A Health and Welfare LPA enables you to choose the person, or persons, you would wish to make personal decisions on your behalf, in such circumstances. This would include decisions about medical treatment or care, or where you should live.
Unlike the financial LPA, a Health and Welfare LPA can only ever be used if you have lost the mental capacity to make such decisions yourself. All the time you have capacity, no one else can make these decisions for you. However, by making the Health and Welfare LPA, you can nominate someone you trust, who knows your wishes, to take such decisions. Your Attorney has a duty to make such decisions in your best interests.
Do not confuse a Health and Welfare LPA with a Last Will and Testament. The Health and Welfare LPA only expresses your wishes concerning medical care. It cannot be used to determine who will inherit your property upon your death, to appoint an executor to administer your estate or to appoint a guardian for your minor children. These can only be accomplished with a Last Will and Testament.