Planning ahead for our future care and for after our death is something all of us can do to make sure our wishes are known. You don't need to wait until you are unwell or over a certain age.
Making a will
If you want to be confident that your wishes will be followed after you die, then it is important to make a will.
If you do not have a valid will, then the people you want to receive your possessions and money after your death may not do so.
Advance Decisions (Living Wills)
Advance Decision to Refuse Treatement/ Living Wills allows you to record any medical treatment that you do not want to be given in the future.
If requirements are met the document is legally binding and healthcare professionals must follow it.
You do not need a solicitor to make an Advance Statement or Advance Decision. There are charities that provide free support to complete the necessary forms over the phone or by email.
Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) allows you to give someone you trust the legal power to make decisions on your behalf in case you later become unable to make decisions for yourself.
The person who makes the LPA is known as the 'donor' and the person given the power to make decisions is know as the 'attorney'.
There are two different types of LPA:
- An LPA for Property and Financial Affairs covers decisions about money and property
- An LPA for Health and Welfare covers decisions about health and personal welfare.
A Health and Welfare LPA allows you to choose one or more people to make decisions for you about things like medical treatment. Decisions can only be made for you if you have lost capacity to make such decisions yourself.
Advance Care Planning
Advance care planning is a voluntary process. This may be prompted by wanting to make plans just in case something unexpected happens or you may already be living with a long term condition.
The process helps you to think about what you would want to happen in the future and gives you the chance to set out what your choices are about your care and treatment. Advance care planning can only be done with someone who has the capacity to make their own decisions.