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Single Lasting Power Of Attorney Health and Welfare Decisions

What you need to know

What many people don’t realise is that, if you leave the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney until it’s too late, you are effectively forcing a family member to apply for a Court of Protection Deputyship order.

Unless you add restrictions or conditions in your Lasting Power of Attorney, your Attorneys will have general authority to make all personal welfare, including health care decisions, once you lack the capacity to make these decisions yourself.

Health and welfare decisions could include decisions about your place of residence, your day-to-day care including your diet and dress, who you may have contact with and consenting or refusing medical examination and treatment on your behalf.

In the Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, you also have the ability to decide whether you would like your Attorneys to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. The Lasting Power of Attorney does not automatically allow these types of decisions to be made, but you can extend your Attorney’s powers to do so if you so wish.

Deciding what is in a person’s ‘best interests’ will ultimately lie with the medical professionals responsible for care. A problem could potentially arise if there was a dispute with, say, the family members and the medical professionals as to what is within the person’s ‘best interests’.

Without a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place, all major decisions can only be made by the Court, such as withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration or in cases where a particular treatment is in dispute.

The importance and significance of putting in place a Lasting Power of Attorney should not be dismissed. 

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