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What is a Health and welfare lasting power of attorney?

A “lasting power of attorney” is a legal document in which you appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. The person so appointed is referred to as an “attorney”.

There are two types of lasting power of attorney, a “health and welfare lasting power of attorney” and a “property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney”. In the case of a health and welfare lasting power of attorney, the attorney is granted the power to make decisions about your health and welfare.

What sort of decisions can an attorney make?

The sort of decisions an attorney can make will depend upon what powers they have been given in the health and welfare lasting power of attorney.

An attorney may be given the power to make decisions in relation to any or all of the following matters:

What medical treatment you should have or not have;

Whether you should continue to live in your own home or move into a residential care home;

What type of health care you should receive;

What diet you should have;

How you should be dressed;

What your daily routine should consist of.

Any decisions made by an attorney should be made in the best interests of the “donor” (the person who made the lasting power of attorney).

What sort of decisions can an attorney not make?

A health and welfare lasting power of attorney does not give your attorney the power to make decisions relating to your property and financial affairs. If you would like your attorney or another person to take responsibility for your property and financial affairs a property and financial affairs lasting power of attorney will be needed.

Can anyone make a health and welfare lasting power of attorney?

A person must have the “mental capacity” to make a health and welfare lasting power of attorney for it to be valid. They must also be at least 18 years old.

For a person to have the required mental capacity they must be able to understand and remember information for long enough and be able to weigh up information to enable them to make a decision. They must also be able to communicate in some manner.

When can a health and welfare lasting power of attorney be used?

A health and welfare lasting power of attorney cannot be used until it has been registered with the “Office of the Public Guardian” and until you have lost the mental capacity to make your own decisions.

How do I make a health and welfare lasting power of attorney?

To make a health and welfare lasting power of attorney you must complete a “lasting power of attorney form”. A copy of the form can be obtained from the Office of the Public Guardian or can be downloaded from their website.

Our article called “lasting powers of attorney” provides guidance on completing the form.

When should the health and welfare lasting power of attorney be registered?

A health and welfare lasting power of attorney cannot be used until it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. You can apply to register it as soon as you receive it or you can leave it to be registered by your attorney as and when the need arises.

How do I register a health and welfare lasting power of attorney?

To register your health and welfare lasting power of attorney you will need to complete 2 forms and send them to the Office of the Public Guardian together with a fee to cover the cost of registration and the original health and welfare lasting power of attorney form. The forms can be obtained from the Office of the Public Guardian or downloaded from their website. Details of the fee can also be found on their website.

The forms which need to be completed are form LPA001 (“notice of intention to apply for registration of a lasting power of attorney”) and form LPA002 (“application to register a lasting power of attorney”). Our article called “lasting powers of attorney” explains more about these forms.

Assuming that the forms have been filled in correctly and no one objects to the registration, the health and welfare lasting power of attorney will then be registered.


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Single Will or Mirror Wills?

If you are a couple and wish to leave all your assets to each other then you could save money by making  Mirror Wills. You can also use Mirror Wills if you whish to leave your estate to the same beneficiaries. 
 
If you wish to leave different legacies, appoint different executors or you would like to specify individual funeral wishes then you will need to make two Single Wills.
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