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Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) allow you to appoint someone you know and trust (known as an Attorney) to make decisions on your behalf should you lose mental capacity and become unable to make important decisions.

There are two types of LPA which can be prepared; one relates to your finances (Property and Financial Affairs LPA) and the other is the Health and Welfare LPA. In this document, your Attorney can make important and sometimes difficult decisions about your healthcare which can range from medication to a suitable care home setting.  If no power were in place, the decision would be made by healthcare professionals

You can also give your Attorney the authority to make decisions about life sustaining medical treatment such as, surgical operations or organ transplants.  Unless you specifically authorise your Attorney to be able to make this decision, they will not have this power.

So what happens if you don’t want to put your loved ones in the position of making those difficult decisions?  Is there an alternative?

Advance Decisions, also known as Living Wills, can be prepared.  They are legally binding as long as you have the mental capacity to make one, you are over 18 and you have followed the correct procedures. They set out the particular circumstances in which you would refuse life-sustaining treatment should you be in a position where you have lost mental capacity.

It is always difficult to consider and record every circumstance in which you would refuse life sustaining treatment and this could result in treatment being given to you which had you had the mental capacity, you would have refused.

In order to ensure that the right medical decisions are being made for you at the right time, it may be more practical to put a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney in place.  If you choose the right Attorney, then they will feel comforted knowing they made the right decision for you.

Whichever document you choose, make sure it is prepared by a professional and recorded on your medical records.  It is also important to note that a Health and Welfare LPA supersedes an Advance Decision.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.