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Are Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorneys important?

04 December

Are Health & Welfare Lasting Power of Attorneys important?

Yes – they can provide comfort and support in the most tragic circumstances.

The BBC recently reported that a widow had said that a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) was more important than a Will following an accident where her husband was fatally injured. Specifically, she was referring to a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare which is a relatively new instrument that compliments the Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs which in one form or another has been around for some time.

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

Since their introduction in 2008, Lasting Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare have gradually grown in popularity and use.  They still remain a “poor cousin” alongside the Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs but they are being used more widely. The Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare allows the chosen Attorney or Attorneys to step in and make decisions relating to health and welfare when the person themselves is incapacitated and not able to make a decision themselves.  This can include a decision to consent or to refuse to consent to treatment, particularly life sustaining or even life saving treatment.

How can a Health and Welfare LPA help?

In this case it meant that the wife was able to instruct the hospital about her husband’s treatment after 6 days of emergency treatment for bilateral brain haemorrhage, following which, her husband had developed double pneumonia. 

She was able to instruct the hospital on what she knew to be her husband’s wishes and in accordance with the instructions he was taken off life support and allowed to die with some dignity.  Because the Lasting Power of Attorney provided detailed instructions, the wife was confident in her knowledge and avoided the deep sense of guilt that she knows she would have felt if she had simply been speaking to the doctors, as it were on her own behalf and provided her own opinions and thoughts.

Should I make a Health and Welfare LPA?

The comfort and support that can be achieved with these instruments should not be overlooked and everyone should consider making an arrangement for someone to act for them.  In tragic circumstances such as these, and in the event that they are unable to act for themselves.   

For more information and to find out how Lasting Powers of Attorney can support you, contact our expert team on 0114 2495969, or email c.neal@bellbuxton.co.uk.