Health & Wel­fare LPA: Es­sen­tial Guide

A woman sitting on the peak of a mountain
Catrin, UK Solicitor
02/04/2024 ● 3 minutes
Nav­ig­at­ing your future can be daunt­ing, es­pe­cially when it comes to health and per­son­al wel­fare de­cisions. This Aatos guide ex­plains what the Lasting Power of At­torney (LPA) for Health and Wel­fare is, and sets out how you can use this legal tool to make sure your wishes are re­spec­ted - even if you're unable to ex­press them yourself.

An LPA for Health and Wel­fare lets you ap­point someone you trust to make de­cisions about your health and per­son­al care if you're unable to do so. This in­cludes man­aging your daily care, medical treat­ment, and life-sus­tain­ing meas­ures.

It’s dif­fer­ent from a Fin­an­cial Mat­ters LPA be­cause it only be­comes active when you can’t make de­cisions by yourself, and only con­cerns health mat­ters.

Choos­ing the right at­torney for your LPA for Health and Wel­fare is cru­cial. This guide will help you nav­ig­ate the setup pro­cess, un­der­stand who you’re able to ap­point as your at­torney, and un­der­stand what powers this role gives them, so that you can rest as­sured that your wishes and health needs are in safe hands.

Set­ting Up an LPA for Health and Wel­fare

Cre­at­ing an LPA for Health and Wel­fare in­volves a few key steps:

  1. Choos­ing Your At­torney: Pick someone you deeply trust to make wel­fare and health de­cisions on your behalf. This could be a family member, close friend, or anyone who un­der­stands your wishes and values.
  2. Filling Out the Forms: Com­plete the Health and Wel­fare LPA form, avail­able online or from legal ser­vice pro­viders. It's de­tailed, so take your time to ensure it ac­cur­ately re­flects your wishes.
  3. Meet­ing Legal Re­quire­ments: Your LPA must be signed by you, your chosen at­torney, and an in­de­pend­ent wit­ness. Ad­di­tion­ally, a cer­ti­fic­ate provider (someone who knows you well for over 2 years or a pro­fes­sion­al like a doctor) must cer­ti­fy that you un­der­stand the LPA and are not under any pres­sure to make it.
  4. Re­gis­ter­ing the LPA: Once com­pleted, you need to re­gister your LPA with the Office of the Public Guardi­an (OPG)  before it can be used. There's a fee for re­gis­tra­tion, which is cur­rently £82, but there are ex­emp­tions or re­duc­tions avail­able based on your income or be­ne­fits.
  5. Ac­tiv­at­ing your LPA using the ac­tiv­a­tion key given by the OPG.

Read more: Ac­tiv­at­ing a Lasting Power of At­torney for Health and Wel­fare

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Scope of De­cisions Under a Health and Wel­fare LPA

A Health and Wel­fare LPA grants your at­torney the au­thor­ity to make a wide range of per­son­al wel­fare de­cisions on your behalf.

You can in­clude to Health and Wel­fare LPA:

  • Medical Care: De­cisions on your medical treat­ment, in­clud­ing sur­gery, med­ic­a­tion, and the re­fusal of medical pro­ced­ures.
  • Living Ar­range­ments: Where you should live, whet­h­er at home with sup­port, in a care home, or else­where.
  • Daily Routine: Choices about your day-to-day activ­it­ies, in­clud­ing diet, dress­ing, and per­son­al care.
  • Life-Sus­tain­ing Treat­ment: Spe­cific­ally, whet­h­er to give or with­hold treat­ment that could keep you alive, such as mech­an­ical vent­il­a­tion or re­sus­cit­a­tion.
  • Social and Leis­ure Activ­it­ies: En­sur­ing you con­tinue to par­ti­cip­ate in hob­bies, social activ­it­ies, or re­li­gious prac­tices that are im­port­ant to you.

By clearly doc­u­ment­ing your pref­er­ences for these areas, you make it easy for your at­torney to make de­cisions that match up with your values and wishes.

Read More: Lasting Power of At­torney – Guide

Com­mu­nic­at­ing Your Wishes to Your At­torney

It's cru­cial to have open dis­cus­sions about your health and wel­fare pref­er­ences with your chosen at­torney and family mem­bers. That way, every­body is clear on your values and the spe­cif­ic care you'd prefer in vari­ous scen­ari­os.

Writ­ing down your wishes, per­haps in a living will or sim­il­ar doc­u­ment, can be in­cred­ibly help­ful, provid­ing a clear ref­er­ence for your at­torney and loved ones to follow.

⚠️ When you write a Lasting Power of At­torney (LPA), you ensure that you avoid deputy­ship, where gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials ap­point a deputy for you.

Choos­ing Your At­torney for LPA Health and Wel­fare

When choos­ing an at­torney for your LPA Health and Wel­fare, it's im­port­ant to choose someone who you really trust and who really “gets” your health­care and per­son­al wel­fare pref­er­ences.

This person should be someone you have ab­so­lute faith in to act in your best in­terests and who knows you well enough to make de­cisions you would agree with.

It's also cru­cial that they are will­ing and able to shoulder this re­spons­ib­il­ity, so a clear con­ver­sa­tion about what the role in­volves is ne­ces­sary to ensure they're up for the task. Given the hands-on nature of the de­cisions they may need to make, you should also con­sider how close they live to you and their abil­ity to com­mu­nic­ate with health­care pro­fes­sion­als and your family.

Re­stric­tions in the UK

In the UK, there are spe­cif­ic re­stric­tions on who can be ap­poin­ted as an at­torney for an LPA:

  • The at­torney must be over 18 years old.
  • The at­torney must have the mental ca­pa­city to make de­cisions.
  • They cannot be bank­rupt or sub­ject to a Debt Relief Order if ap­poin­ted for a Fin­an­cial LPA - but this doesn’t apply to Health and Wel­fare LPAs.
  • A pro­fes­sion­al, like a so­li­citor, can be ap­poin­ted, but they must agree to take on this role.

Re­mem­ber, you can ap­point more than one at­torney, either to act to­geth­er in all mat­ters or to act sep­ar­ately in cer­tain con­di­tions. This flex­ib­il­ity can provide ad­di­tion­al safe­guards for your wishes being hon­oured, for ex­ample, if one of the at­tor­neys is unable to act.

Read more: Lasting Power of At­torney Online: Ex­plor­ing Your Op­tions

Plan­ning for the Future with a Health & Wel­fare LPA

Set­ting up a Health and Wel­fare LPA gives you the com­fort of know­ing your well-being is in trusted hands. It’s a simple, thought­ful way to pre­pare for the future, en­sur­ing your wishes are always re­spec­ted.

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