Recent changes to Lasting Powers of Attorney – read here for info and get in touch with us on 01243 532777 to make an appointment with one of our Private Client team:
If you, or a loved one, made a property and financial lasting power(s) of attorney some time ago, then our advice at that time (in line with other solicitors and professionals) was that you wouldn’t necessarily benefit from a health and welfare LPA as any decisions regarding your health and welfare could be achieved by consultation with your family in the event that you lost capacity.
Recently we have been aware of a change in policy with regards to not only social services but also hospitals and other medical professionals including dentists which have resulted in family members being excluded from decisions as they aren’t appointed as an attorney under a “health and welfare” LPA.
This change has come about as a result of the Care Act 2012 and other reforms which aim to protect vulnerable people and tighten safeguarding measures. Those providing services to vulnerable people (if you have lost capacity then you would be in this category) have a duty to ensure that they are acting in the best interests of that person and that they only accept instructions from those legally appointed to give them. The thinking behind this is it should not be assumed that the person lacking capacity wished their family to be making those decisions on their behalf. Social services or other healthcare professionals need to ensure they are dealing with someone legally appointed rather than making assumptions.
Our advice now is that all clients should have a health and welfare LPA alongside their property and financial LPA.
A key difference between the two LPA’s is that health and welfare will only come into effect in the event that you have lost capacity to make those decisions yourself (whereas property and finance can be used at any time you choose both with or without capacity).
We recognise the importance of choosing who you would want to be able to make decisions about your health and welfare:
v where you should live
v day to day care (including for example diet and dress)
v whether to give or refuse consent to medical treatment
Please phone us at Owen Kenny on 01243 532777 and ask to make an appointment with a member of our Private Client department.