What is a Health & Welfare LPA

Abbie Kingdon

A Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA”) is a legal document that you draw up to appoint one or more individuals, known as your “attorney(s)”, to make decisions for you in the event that you become mentally incapable.

Unlike an advanced decision (see below), an LPA covers a broad range of health and welfare related decisions, such as decisions about where you live, who you have contact with, your diet and dress, assessments for and the provision of community care services and rights of access to personal information about you.

An advanced decision (or “AD”) is a legally binding document that you can put in place whereby you refuse the giving or continuing of medical treatment that will simply keep you alive in circumstances where you are no longer mentally capable of providing consent. ADs are often put in place by individuals who have been diagnosed with a terminal or a degenerative illness or who have particular personal beliefs regarding medical treatment.

In some circumstances, it is important to have a Health and Welfare LPA in place as well as an AD for the following reasons:

  • It is difficult to draft a comprehensive AD which covers all possible future circumstances and which takes account of advances in medicine
  • An AD cannot be used to compel or require a certain course of treatment, rather it can only be used to specify the circumstances in which treatment is to be refused.
  • A Health and Welfare LPA covers a broad range of other medical decisions as well as welfare related decisions.

An LPA is thus an additional safeguard that can sit alongside an AD. It is however imperative that the two documents cross-refer to and compliment each other, otherwise complications can arise.

At Samuels Solicitors LLP, we have the expertise and skills to assist you in preparing both ADs and LPAs.

Contact our private client team for more information.