This page was last updated on 1 November 2020.
Lasting power of attorney health and welfare
While you have the mental capacity, it is important to consider how personal questions like where you live, what medical treatment you get, who will care for you, etc will be answered when you are unable to make the decisions yourself.
A lasting power of attorney is when you give someone the legal right to manage your affairs, including those relating to your health and welfare.
Topics that you will find covered on this page
You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.
What is a health and welfare lasting power of attorney?
There are two types of lasting power of attorney (LPA), property and financial affairs attorneys and for power of attorney for health and welfare.
A health and welfare attorney is someone you have given the power to make decisions on your health and welfare after you lose the mental capacity to make decisions yourself.
Why do I need a health and welfare LPA?
A lasting power of attorney for health is important so that if you no longer have capacity, another person can make decisions on your behalf.
f you do not have an attorney, the court of protection will make decisions for you, which may not reflect your wishes.
Why might I need someone to make decisions about my health and welfare on my behalf?
Losing the ability to make decisions is called losing capacity. You do not have capacity if you cannot:
- Communicate your decision
- Understand or read the relevant information and guidance
- Retain the necessary information
- Consider the information and guidance when you make a decision
Here is a short video to explain what a health power of attorney is.
Is there a difference between LPA’s for financial affairs and LPA’s for health and welfare?
Property and financial affairs lasting power of attorneys are for either if you need additional help and support while you still have capacity, or if you lose mental capacity. The Health and welfare lasting power of attorneys are only for once you have lost capacity.
What sort of decisions can the person with power of attorney for health and welfare make?
The person with lasting powers of attorney (LPA) is able to make decisions on your behalf on all matters to do with your health, care and personal wellbeing. This includes:
- Where you live, for example if you can continue living at home or if it would improve your care to live in social services property
- The medical care you get, for example, if you use private healthcare services
- Medical treatment
- Your daily routine, for example, what you eat and which friends you see
You can make what decisions you want your welfare LPA to be able to make known in the form.
What decisions can a person with power of attorney not make?
Unlike LPAs for property and financial affairs, The lasting attorney power of health and welfare does not come into place until the donor has lost capacity. The power of attorneys also does not cover:
- Refusing treatment where the donor is sectioned or on hospital leave
- If there is a guardianship order, the attorney cannot make a decision about where the donor lives
- If there is an advance decision, they cannot make decisions about life-sustaining treatment
Who should I choose as my attorney for health?
The attorney you use must be older than18. Otherwise, it can be anyone you trust, like a partner, a close personal friend, or a family member.
You should talk to any friends or family you are thinking of giving lasting power of attorney for health and welfare, to make sure they understand your wishes and are willing to make decisions on your care.
How many LPAs for my health and welfare can I have?
You can have more than one lasting power of attorney for health and welfare, however, you need to make it clear if they have to make decisions together or if each one can act alone.
You can also appoint a replacement attorney of power for if something happens to the person you originally made your lasting power of attorney.
How do I get a health power of attorney?
In England and Wales, you have to apply to the Office of the Public Guardian. You can complete the form below, and send it to the Office of the Public Guardian:
The forms can also be completed online at:
How to set up power of attorney:
You can either get help and advice from a solicitor to set up a lasting power of attorney for health and welfare, or you can do it yourself. To register a lasting power of attorney (LPA), you need to use the OPGs form.
What are the timescales for applying for an LPA?
In England and Wales, it will generally take 8-10 weeks for your forms to be processed. If you lose mental capacity after you signed the LPA but before registering it, your attorney can help register it for you.
What information do I need to put in the LPA application form?
The forms you have to send to the OPG come with guidance to read on what information must be provided. This includes:
- The donor’s name, address and date of birth
- The names, addresses, and DOBs of all the attorneys and replacement attorneys
- The name and addresses of the certificate provider
- The names and addresses of the people to notify
Why do I need a certificate provider?
A certificate provider is an independent person who has to sign the form in support of your application. This is to make sure you understand the form and there has not been undue pressure on you to make this decision.
Who can I use as my LPA certificate provider?
The certificate provider has to be either be a professional, or someone who has known you for more than two years. They have to be:
- Over 18
- Not your attorney themself or the replacement attorney
- Not to do with any care home you live in
- Not a family member
- Not in a business relationship with you or an attorney
Who are the people to be notified?
When you apply for lasting power of attorney for health and welfare, you can list up to five people who will be told you are making an LPA before it is registered. This gives them three weeks to read the document and act on any concerns they have before the LPA is registered.
Can I complete the forms online?
You can fill out the forms online. Unfortunately, the application cannot be made entirely online because it has to be signed and witnessed before you send it to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
How much is a lasting power of attorney?
It costs money to have the power registered with the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG).
The registration fee is £82 for each power, which means you need to pay £164 to register an LPA for health and welfare and an LPA for financial affairs. If you use the help of legal services to register your medical power of attorney, there will be a fee for this.
Do I need to use legal services to register an LPA?
You do not need legal help in making an LPA application. However, LPAs are a very important document so it is important to use the correct legal terminology.
Therefore legal advice can help improve the likelihood the document reflects your wishes, which could save money and time in the long term.
Is there a way registering a lasting power of attorney for health and welfare can ever be cheaper?
If at the time of making an application, you are on a low income, you may be eligible to save 50% on making an application. If you receive certain types of benefits, registration may be free.
Does my attorney get to make all my health and welfare decisions?
An attorney can make decisions on anything to do with the donor’s health and welfare. However, the donor can make their preferences known before they lose capacity. The donor can also choose if the attorney can make decisions about life-sustaining treatment.
Who can make decisions about life-sustaining treatment if I do not have capacity?
You can let your attorney make this sort of decision. If you do not let them make this sort of personal decision, your healthcare team will decide on treatment unless you have in place a living will/ advance decision to refuse treatment.
Can my lasting power of attorney for health and welfare (LPA) spend my money?
The lasting power of attorney for health and welfare can spend money on things that will maintain or improve the donor’s personal standard of living.
This includes extra support for the donor, anything to improve their property, hygiene and medicine, and personal items the donor may use. The LPA for health and welfare may need to ask the attorney with property and financial powers to use the donor’s money.
Can the health LPA consent or refuse medical treatment?
The lasting power of attorney (LPA) can make it known while they have capacity that the attorney can refuse or consent to treatment. Otherwise, the attorney can make decisions unless the donor has been sectioned or they have a living will. The attorney’s decisions have to be in the best interests of the donor.
Can I change information in my LPA?
In England and Wales, if you want to end your lasting power of attorney (LPA) for health and welfare, you need to use a deed of revocation and send it to the OPG.
To get rid of a person as your LPA, you can complete a partial deed of revocation, and send it to the OPG.
How does an LPA end?
Beyond the donor ending the LPA, there are other ways the welfare power can end, including:
- The donor dies
- The Court of Protection removes the attorney
- The attorney dies any time before the donor
- The attorney is unable to make decisions because they lose capacity
- The donor is married or in a civil partnership with the attorney and gets a divorce
- The attorney becomes bankrupt
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