Category Archives: Lasting Powers of Attorney

Creating a power of attorney

By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)

Q. I have recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's — I am only 58, but both my parents had this illness from their mid 50s. Having witnessed my parents' deterioration I am anxious that my wife and children will have a strong say as to how my medical care will be planned and carried out. I have heard you can make a power of attorney for this and I am anxious to do this while I still can.

A: It is commendable that you are thinking well ahead of putting plans in place to assist you and your family in the future.
A Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare will allow you to appoint your wife and children (if they are over 18 and not bankrupt) as attorneys for you.
The power granted would not come into effect until you no longer have mental capacity. It is a common misconception that a Lasting Power of Attorney is not essential as your next of kin will be able to act on your behalf.
The term next of kin is not recognised by the law and has no legal status. Your next of kin does not have legal authority to act on your behalf unless they have been appointed as your attorney.
The Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare will allow your attorneys to make the decisions such as where you should live, your day to day care including diet, consenting or refusing medical treatment and arrangements for medial, dental or optical treatment.
It is important you make one whilst you still have capacity to express your future wishes and feelings to your family. The NHS can appoint a person called an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) to act on your behalf if you lack capacity. Although your family are entitled to be involved in the process they will not have the same level of authority that they would have if they were appointed as an attorney.
A solicitor dealing in this area will be able to draft the forms for you and probably act as a certificate provider (which is a procedural requirement and safeguard under the document).
Once it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian you will have the peace of mind of knowing it's there if ever needed in the future.

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