Who will speak for me if I can’t?
When we become too ill to speak for ourselves we are said to have ‘lost capacity’.
Necessary decisions about treatment and care will be made by medical professionals, deciding what is in our best interests and acting accordingly. Next of kin or family may have some input into a care or treatment plan, but will not have the final say.
For your voice to be heard, an appropriate person will have to make an application to become your Health and Welfare Deputy. This is an expensive and time consuming process, and inevitably involves a delay in their ability to legally represent your best interests.
You can see why it is important, then, to have someone you trust ready to be your advocate in case such circumstances arise suddenly.
Writing and registering a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), while you still have mental capacity, means the person you have chosen is ready to step up immediately should the need arise.
Your attorney is then empowered to put forward your views regarding treatment and care just as you would if you were able to do so. If you choose to include specific guidance in your LPA about your preferences in certain situations this helps your attorney represent you even more effectively.
You may delegate to them the power to accept or refuse life-sustaining treatment on your behalf. We recommend that, if you are doing this, you have a frank conversation with the attorney while you still can, so that they have the opportunity to ask you questions about your views too.
Putting an LPA in place
For Advice; Preparation of all documents; Acting as Certificate Provider
Lasting Power of Attorney Property and Financial Affairs – £325
Lasting Power of Attorney Health and Care Decisions – £325
Both Personal Lasting Power of Attorney for one person – £500*
Both Personal Lasting Power of Attorney for a couple – £950*
Office of Public Guardian registration fees: £82 per document**
*No additional discounts may be used alongside this discounted fee
**This is reduced to £41 per document if your income is below £12,000 per year.
1. Choose carefully
If you choose more than one attorney, you must specify whether they have the power to act alone.
Their responsibilities include applying to your Financial Affairs Attorney (if you have one) for money for basic care and toiletries, arranging care packages, signing medical consent forms, and speaking for you if life saving or prolonging treatment is an option.
Be sure your attorneys are willing to act before you start the application. Talk to them about your wishes and make a note of your discussion in the LPA documentation if you wish.
2. Complete the paperwork and register the LPA
We can prepare the application for signature and certification, and send it to the Office of the Public Guardian for registration. The OPG fee is £82.00.
3. Storage and amendment of the LPA
Your registered LPA only comes into effect if you lose capacity. It is immediate.
There are costs and specified procedures to follow if you decide to amend or revoke your LPA. Please contact us if you want to do this.
Read more on our LPAs page.
You may already have made an Advance Decision (Living Will) so that your wishes on certain treatments are known. If so, please talk to us before also entering into a Health & Welfare LPA as the provisions will conflict with your Advance Decision.
We will guide you through the process to ensure your wishes are clear and legally binding on your medical team for when it matters most.