What is it?
It allows a person – called the donor – to appoint people who are trusted called Attorneys to make decisions on their health and welfare issues. The powers can only be used when the donor is unable to make those decisions for themselves.
What does it cover?
If you as the donor were unable to make decisions for your health or welfare, then your LPA gives authority to your Attorneys to make decisions on some or all of the following:
- your daily living routine
- selecting a care home or health facility
- represent your views on your healthcare
- if you wish, they could be given powers to make decisions on whether or not you receive life sustaining treatment.
What does it NOT cover?
A Health & Welfare LPA gives Attorneys powers to make decisions on how you are to be cared for, your medical needs, and if necessary in later life, which care home you could be placed. However, that Power of Attorney does not give the Attorneys powers to deal with your finances, such as managing your everyday finances, dealing with your property, and securing care home funding. Those decisions can only be covered by a Property & Financial Affairs LPA.
So, it’s important to appreciate that having both Lasting Powers of Attorney can both be important. For example, where decisions on both finances and welfare need to be made at the same time. For more information on Property & Financial Affairs LPA’s please click here.
Substantial savings can be made by buying both together from Phoenix Wills & Probate.
When would a Health & Welfare LPA be useful?
- If you suffered an injury or illness which affected your mental capacity. This might be temporary, while you’re recovering from an illness.
- if you developed a debilitating illness, such as dementia, or other progressive illnesses affecting your mind.
- if you suffer from mental health problems, which prevented you from making important decisions from time to time.
Can I wait to have one until it’s needed?
Unfortunately not. You can only make a Health & Welfare LPA if you have mental capacity. And your Attorneys can only use this LPA if you have lost mental capacity. So, if you’ve lost mental capacity you will not be able to make an LPA and appoint Attorneys.
What would happen then? Your loved ones would need to make an application to the Court of Protection and apply for what’s known as Deputyship. This can be very costly, take a long time and only gives your loved ones limited powers to act for you.
So, although yes an LPA costs money to arrange it now, it’s best to think of an LPA as an insurance policy. If you’ve got one, it’s then ready to be used if unfortunately you need your Attorneys to act for you.
When I’ve signed it, can it be used straightaway?
Unfortunately not. All LPA’s must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. The OPG place a special stamp on it, which then proves Attorneys have the authority by law to use it.
If an LPA has not been registered with the official stamp, then no medical or welfare institution is obliged to consult with your Attorneys, and Attorneys have no powers to make decisions on your behalf.
The good news is you can register your LPA immediately if you wish. So, if in future your Attorneys do need to take over either for a short time while you recover from an illness, or for a longer period of time, they already have authority to act for you.
It always comes down to cost. We appreciate that buying an LPA has a cost, as does registering the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian. But it is better to be safe than sorry. Having a registered LPA will allow your Attorneys to step in immediately if they are needed.
Contact us to write your Lasting Power of Attorney today. We provide balanced, impartial advice and can register your Lasting Power of Attorney for you as well.