I’ll Stand by You, Won’t Let Nobody Hurt You – The duties of a Health & Welfare Attorney
Selecting someone as an Attorney on a Lasting Power of Attorney is a big responsibility, particularly when it comes to matters of Health & Welfare. Trusting someone to make decisions about your physical wellbeing, and like The Pretenders lyrics not let anyone hurt you, when you no longer have capacity is not a decision to make lightly. Here are a few things you need to consider when selecting your Attorneys.
Firstly, decide whether you will have one or more people or persons acting for you. Selecting one person may seem less likely to cause friction when it comes to making decisions, but do consider the implications if they are not available at a moment of need. If you decide to have several attorneys do you wish them to act ‘jointly and severally’ on all decisions (ie independently of each other or would you like some decisions to be made jointly so they must agree TOGETHER on any choices). Whilst it is not uncommon for a donor to choose their spouse and children for attorneys it is not advised to have more than four people acting on your behalf.
A health and welfare attorney is able to make (or helps you the donor make) decisions about things like your daily routine (such as eating, washing and dressing), medical care and where you might live (choice of care home, potential move to more suitable property).
They may need access to your finances, or to work with the Attorneys you choose for your Lasting Power of Attorney - Property and Financial Affairs, this is to enable them to spend your money on things that maintain or improve your quality of life. This can include new clothes or hairdressing, decorating your home or room in a care home, or paying for extra support so the donor, you, can go out more (perhaps to visit friends or relatives or to go on holiday)
When making your lasting power of attorney (LPA) be clear about your instructions about refusing or consenting to treatment. You will need to decide if you give your attorneys the authority to make the choice to accept or refuse Life Sustaining treatment on your behalf. If you choose this option an attorney must sign medical consent forms, show the LPA to care staff, and always make decisions in your, the donor’s, best interests * If you have strong feelings about certain treatments this can be made into a Living Will – this then takes precedent over the Attorneys decision making
Living wills (‘advance decisions’)
This is a legal statement from you the donor about which medical treatments you don’t want. Your Attorneys will need to give this to care staff along with the LPA. However, your Attorneys can apply for a one-off decision from the Court of Protection to make a decision about a medical treatment if your living will and LPA give different instructions if for example the medical staff or your friends and family disagree about whether the treatment should be given
Ensuring you have an LPA for Health & Welfare in place protects you should you lose capacity to make those decisions for yourself. Its an important tool in enabling your family to best care for you, and means you are still caring for your family too.
By taking the time to have LPA’s drawn up by a professional Will Writing service you have the confidence that your family will not be left at a loss for your wishes or unable to act for your care. For more details on our Lasting Power of Attorney service contact Langham Associates Ltd on 01473 487611, email us on email@example.com or visit our sister website www.simplewillsonline.co.uk