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LPA - Health and Welfare

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare is a legal document that allows you to appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to make decisions about your health and care on your behalf if you lose the mental capacity to make these decisions yourself in the future. This could be due to an illness like dementia, a serious injury, or an accident.Having an LPA in place ensures that someone you trust, such as a family member or close friend, can make important choices about your medical treatment, living arrangements, and daily care needs when you are no longer able to do so.

Why is having a Health and Welfare LPA important?

There are several key reasons why setting up an LPA for Health and Welfare is crucial:

  • Peace of mind: By choosing your attorney(s) in advance, you have the reassurance that decisions about your well-being will be made by someone who understands your wishes and preferences.
  • Avoiding court intervention: Without an LPA, your loved ones would need to apply to the Court of Protection to become your ‘deputy’ in order to make health and care decisions for you. This process can be lengthy, expensive, and stressful.
  • Immediate action: Once registered, your Health and Welfare LPA can be used by your attorney(s) as soon as it’s needed, allowing them to act quickly on your behalf.
  • Separate from financial decisions: A Health and Welfare LPA is distinct from a Property and Financial Affairs LPA. You need both types to ensure all aspects of your life are covered if you lose capacity.
LPA - Health and Welfare

What decisions can a Health and Welfare attorney make?

Your Health and Welfare attorney(s) can make a wide range of decisions related to your care and well-being, such as:

  • Where you should live (e.g., at home with support or in a care facility)

  • Your daily routine (e.g., washing, dressing, eating)

  • Your medical care (e.g., consenting to or refusing treatment)

  • Life-sustaining treatment (if expressly authorised in the LPA)

  • Arrangements for your social activities and contact with others

It’s important to note that attorneys can only make these decisions when you lack the mental capacity to make them yourself.

Emily’s story

Emily, a 60-year-old woman, was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. She had always been fiercely independent and wanted to ensure that her wishes would be respected as her condition progressed. After discussing her concerns with her family, Emily decided to set up a Health and Welfare LPA, appointing her daughter, Sarah, as her attorney.As Emily’s Alzheimer’s advanced, Sarah was able to step in and make decisions about her mother’s care. When Emily could no longer safely live alone, Sarah arranged for her to move into a care home that specialised in dementia care, knowing that this aligned with her mother’s preferences.Later, when Emily developed a severe chest infection and was unable to communicate her wishes, Sarah was able to consult with doctors and consent to the necessary treatment on her mother’s behalf. Having the LPA in place gave Emily and her family the peace of mind that her well-being would be looked after, even when she could no longer make decisions for herself.

 

LPA - Health and Welfare

How to set up a Health and Welfare LPA

To create a valid Health and Welfare LPA, you must:

  1. Be 18 or over and have the mental capacity to make the decisions you want to delegate.

  2. Choose your attorney(s) – you can appoint one or more people, and should consider appointing replacement attorneys.

  3. Fill in the relevant forms, which can be done online or on paper.

  4. Sign the LPA in the presence of a witness and have your attorney(s) and witness sign as well.

  5. Register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian (this must be done before it can be used).

It’s advisable to seek guidance from a professional who specialises in this area to ensure your LPA is properly set up and registered.

Life insurance through business

1. When can a Health and Welfare LPA be used?

A Health and Welfare LPA can only be used once it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian and after the donor has lost mental capacity. The attorney(s) cannot make decisions on the donor’s behalf while they still have the ability to make decisions for themselves.

2. Can I change or cancel my Health and Welfare LPA?

Yes, as long as you have mental capacity, you can make changes to your LPA or cancel it entirely. This involves filling out the relevant forms and notifying the Office of the Public Guardian. If you want to make substantial changes, you may need to create a new LPA.

3. How much does it cost to set up a Health and Welfare LPA?

As of 2023, it costs £82 to register each LPA in England and Wales. This means if you’re setting up both a Health and Welfare LPA and a Property and Financial Affairs LPA, you’ll need to pay £164. Some people may be eligible for a reduced fee or exemption depending on their financial circumstances.

4. What happens if I don’t have a Health and Welfare LPA and lose mental capacity?

If you lose mental capacity without a Health and Welfare LPA in place, your loved ones would need to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. This process is more time-consuming, costly, and stressful compared to having an LPA set up in advance. The court will make decisions based on your best interests, but the deputy may not be the person you would have chosen.

5. Can I appoint more than one attorney for my Health and Welfare LPA?

Yes, you can appoint multiple attorneys and specify whether they should make decisions jointly (unanimously) or jointly and severally (independently). You can also appoint replacement attorneys to step in if your original attorney(s) can no longer act on your behalf.

The Bottom Line

In summary, a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare is a vital tool for anyone who wants to plan ahead for the possibility of losing mental capacity. By appointing someone you trust to make decisions about your care and treatment, you can have the reassurance that your well-being will be prioritised and your wishes respected, even if you can no longer communicate them yourself.Don’t wait until it’s too late – consider setting up a Health and Welfare LPA today to protect yourself and your loved ones in the future.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article on what you should never put in your will is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute formal legal advice. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, laws and regulations may change over time. For your specific situation, it is always best to consult with a qualified professional who specialises in wills and estate planning. They can guide you through the process of properly drafting and executing your will, ensuring it is legally valid and tailored to your unique needs. Services like XWills.com offer expert will writing assistance from licensed professionals. Speaking with them directly will give you the personalised attention and formal legal guidance needed to achieve your estate planning goals and protect your legacy.

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Andrew Walters - Xwills.com

Researched and Fact Checked by Andrew Walters

Co-Founder, CEO and Senior Will Writer at Xwills.com

Andrew Walters is the co-founder and CEO of Xwills.com, an estate planning firm that combines technology with personalised customer service to elevate the will writing experience. As a full member of the Society of Will Writers, Andrew is committed to upholding the highest professional standards in the field.

Driven by a passion for providing comprehensive support to clients, Andrew pursued formal qualifications in will writing and estate planning. This journey led to the establishment of Xwills, where he and his team fill a gap in the market by offering a tailored alternative to online-only will writing services.

At Xwills, Andrew ensures that each client receives the time and attention needed to understand their specific requirements. He strongly believes that something as important as writing a will should not be rushed or done without expert guidance.

As a member of the Society of Will Writers, Andrew adheres to their code of practise and continues to expand his knowledge through annual training. 

His expertise, combined with Xwills’ commitment to customer service, positions him as a trusted resource for those seeking to protect their legacy and provide for their loved ones.

With his dedication to professionalism and personalised service, Andrew Walters is setting a new standard in the estate planning industry.