Laura Johnson – solicitor in our Private Client department – comments on why it is important to have a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare

The BBC has reported that one in five families was not consulted where doctors decided not to revive a relative.  This is another reason why it is important for individuals to think about creating a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare matters.

A lot of people think that next of kin have a right to be involved in making decisions about a relative’s Health and Welfare, but that isn’t necessarily the case and a doctor or nurse doesn’t always have to consult with next of kin.

A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare allows you to appoint a trusted friend or relative to act on your behalf (as an attorney) and make decisions about your health and welfare in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.  This is particularly relevant for life-sustaining treatment and the Lasting Power of Attorney specifically asks if you want a doctor to make a decision about life-sustaining treatment or whether you would prefer your attorney to make a decision about life-sustaining treatment.

If you opt for your attorney to make the decision on your behalf, then you can tell them what you would want to happen in that awful situation; and you can rest assured that the doctors would have to consult with the attorney.

It is not a nice thing to think about, but it is important to have a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare in place to ensure your wishes are carried out and your relatives have the legal authority to consult with doctors.

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