News | June 18, 2020

The Power of Decision-Making

We are all used to making decisions for ourselves – how to invest our assets, when to take money out of our bank accounts, when to call the doctor, who we want to visit us. These are often such basic decisions that it is easy to overlook what would happen if we could not make them. However, during a health crisis such as Covid-19, there is obviously a greater risk. Everyone should have a Lasting Power of Attorney (“LPA“) to allow decisions affecting them to be made as easily as possible, if they cannot do so themselves.

An LPA is a document that gives trusted individuals power to make decisions for you if you lose mental capacity. There are two types – one for decisions relating to your finances and property, and one for decisions relating to your personal welfare.

If you fall ill and require serious hospital treatment, there may be immediate and important decisions and discussions that are needed at a time when you are not conscious or otherwise have the mental capacity to act; such as:

  • discussing your condition with your doctor;
  • where you should be treated;
  • who is permitted to see your medical notes;
  • giving or refusing consent for medical treatment, including life sustaining treatment;
  • who you want to visit you in hospital; and
  • arranging how you are to be cared for during your recovery.

There will clearly also be decisions relating to your financial affairs, but the above will be the more pressing.

If you do not have an LPA, your doctors, social services and family members all have a right to be involved in these key decisions. Understandably, there will be different points of view and court proceedings would be needed to resolve any issues, at a cost in terms of anxiety, time and money. With an LPA, you give the right to make these types of decision to one set of persons – your attorneys. They can then make the necessary decisions in your best interests and try to act how you would do if you were able to.

We can help you to make both types of LPA and decide who the best persons would be to appoint. We can guide you on wishes or instructions to give your attorneys to help them make those key decisions as you would.

There has never been a more important time to make sure you have this level of control, for your own peace of mind and that of your family. Please contact me or your usual Wedlake Bell advisor and we would be pleased to help you.