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State your preferences for the future with the Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare

Senior citizens in Bristol leading an active lifestyle with Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare
AUTHOR: Graham Southorn

When you make a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare, it only comes into effect after you’ve lost capacity.

In other words, your chosen attorneys – family members or trusted friends are typically chosen – can only make decisions for you once you’ve lost capacity and not before.

So how can you ensure that you’ll be able to live your life the way you want to live it?

Preferences and instructions

The answer is that you can include Preferences and Instructions section in your Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare. One way of thinking about this was described in a Telegraph article by Bernadette Mossman of Vida Healthcare.

She said: “Imagine yourself in another country, far from home, where you don’t speak the language. If you were given a piece of paper and asked what’s most important about you – what makes you you – what would you write down? What would you need these people to know about you, to support your care?”

Bernadette went on to give a specific example based on her own preferences.

“I’m a fitness fanatic. In the future, if I’m marching furiously around the corridors of a care home, I’ll want those around me to know I’m just getting my 10,000 steps in, and if they give me a water bottle and an energy bar I’ll be fine.”

Planning ahead with Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare

The key really is planning ahead. Like Bernadette, I’ve made Lasting Powers of Attorney myself. Hopefully, they’ll sit on the shelf for years and years, gathering dust.

But if something happens to me, I’ll be glad I made them. Particularly since Lasting Powers of Attorney only apply while you’re alive so they genuinely could help you. As opposed to making a Will, which helps your loved ones.

In particular, if there has been any dementia in your family in the past, it’s worth planning ahead.

As Bernadette says: “There’s a lot of fear around dementia, because if your great-grandmother, your grandmother and your mother all had it, then there is the possibility that that will be your future too. I believe in being proactive rather than avoiding the issue, and not leaving it too late.”

When should you do it? Well, if you have a spouse/partner assets in your sole name, consider it at any age. You never know what might happen. It’s horrible to think about but some people are just unlucky.

If you have children over the age of 18 and they’re responsible adults, I believe Lasting Powers of Attorney are a no-brainer.

Says Bernadette: “In my early 50s, I had a Power of Attorney put in place so my adult children will be able to take care of my welfare and financial matters, and I have a Will.”

But just as important as these legal documents, she says, is telling others your story. “It’s important that others know our life story – who we are, and what’s shaped us. Don’t leave it too late to capture these memories for the future.”

For further information, download free factsheets on Wills, Trusts, Inheritance Tax, Lasting Power of Attorney and more.

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The information contained in these articles is for general interest purposes only. We take every precaution to ensure that the information is correct at the time of publishing but errors can occur. Given the changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, there may be omissions or inaccuracies in the information. Bristol Wills & Estate Planning Ltd is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for any results obtained from the use of this information. You should never rely on the information in these articles as a substitute for professional legal advice, whether from Bristol Wills & Estate Planning or any other legal service or professional.

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