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Legal News | 19.08.21

Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney or Advance Decision – which do I want?

The last year has made us all think about our future and in particular our future health decisions. There are two different types of legal document which focus on future health decisions: a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and an Advance Decision. So, what are they and which do you need?

What is a Health and Welfare LPA?
A Health and Welfare LPA is one of the two types of lasting powers of attorney that a person can make, alongside a Property and Finance LPA. It allows a person to appoint an attorney, or attorneys, to make decisions about their daily routine, medical care and even where the donor lives. This document can also give attorneys the authority to consent to or refuse life-sustaining treatment on a donor’s behalf.

What is an Advance Decision?
An Advance Decision, otherwise known as a Living Will, allows you ahead of time, to make your wishes known with regard to the refusal of certain medical treatments. Your wishes will then be followed if you are unable to communicate them for yourself in the future. For instance, you can refuse to have life-sustaining treatments such as CPR. It therefore gives you the opportunity to indicate which treatments you do not wish to have in the future and under what specific circumstances.

Can I have both?
A person can have both a Health and Welfare LPA and an Advance Decision; an Advance Decision can even be included in your LPA. If, however, you have two separate documents, the order in which you sign the documents is very important.

If the LPA is created first, your Advance Decision (created more recently) will prevent your appointed attorney(s) from making decisions regarding treatment, and the directions in the Advance Decision will be followed. If the Advance Decision is created first, the LPA will then override this if you give your attorney(s) the power to make decisions about your treatments.

In summary, an Advance Decision allows you to make your own decisions whereas under an LPA, your attorney(s) make decisions on your behalf. An Advance Decision, however, only covers medical treatment, whereas an LPA covers more decisions and allows greater flexibility when making decisions. If you decide to have both documents in place, make sure you sign them in the right order, depending on which one you wish to take precedence.

To find out more, please get in touch with your usual contact or email us at wealth@wansbroughs.com.


Posted By Our Wills, Tax, Trusts & Probate Team