Many people do now make the financial Lasting Powers of Attorney but unfortunately a large proportion do not wish to think about the health and welfare document, which could be equally important in the future if you were to lose mental capacity.
We have recently spoken to a client whose husband has Alzheimer’s. The client had been at the nursing home visiting her husband and happened to see his medical notes which had been left on a table and she started to read them. The person at the home asked if she had a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney. When she confirmed that she did not the person at the home stated that unfortunately due to data protection rules the wife was not able to read his medical notes despite her being his next of kin.
This is very hard for family members to of course accept, particularly in circumstances such as these but Jonathan and I continue to promote both types of Lasting Powers of Attorney and the pitfalls of not having a health and welfare LPA one in place, which can only be used when a person loses mental capacity.
The sad fact is that without a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, you would not be able to become involved in a loved one’s care. The home’s argument was that as the husband did not have capacity to give authority for the home to permit the wife to see the notes they were unable to do so.
The alternative would be a deputyship application which is an extremely complex, expensive and time consuming exercise.
If you would like advice on drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney document, please get in touch with Deborah Adams, Director of Private Client Department firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01566 772375