Lasting Power of Attorney – Planning for the Future of a Loved One Who is Losing the Mental Capacity to Make Their Own Choices is Difficult, but Essential.
One of our directors and specialist in older client matters at Geoffrey Lurie Solicitors, looks at Lasting Powers of Attorney and Advance Decisions (Living Wills), explaining the differences between the two and why it is important to carefully consider the best option:
“Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA 2005), individuals can choose whether to use a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or an Advance Decision when making arrangements for future medical treatment. They differ tremendously.
“In the event they lose mental capacity to make decisions, LPAs allow a person to appoint an attorney to act on their behalf. The attorney will have authority to make almost all personal welfare decisions for that individual, including giving or refusing consent to medical treatment and decisions about day-to-day care.
“An Advance Decision allows a person to refuse specific medical treatment in advance if at some point in the future when that treatment is offered, they have lost capacity to be able to give their consent . A valid Advance Decision can act as a refusal of treatment, and would mean that the treatment specified cannot lawfully be given.
“The important difference is with an Advance Decision, the individual is making their own decision, they must therefor specify exactly which medical treatment they wish to refuse. LPAs, on the other hand, offer more flexibility and provide the appointed attorney with lasting authority to make decisions on the individual’s behalf.
“If a person makes an Advance Decision but afterwards makes an LPA, the LPA will have authority to make decisions about the same treatment. Whereas if an Advance Decision is made after an LPA, the Advance Decision takes priority.
“Putting in place a directive for your future care is an important decision. It is crucial to seek expert legal advice – preferably sooner rather than later.”
Geoffrey Lurie Solicitors specialise in advising on all aspects of LPA and Advance Decisions. For more information, please contact our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0191 466 1444.