Living Wills and Powers of Attorney

Many of us are living longer than ever before. However, longer lives sometimes go hand-in-hand with longer periods of ill-health. As home business owners, planning is second nature, and having a plan for your future health and well-being is a smart move. As there is no way of knowing who may be affected by ill-health later in life, it makes sense to plan in advance. Because of this, there are two main possibilities to consider.

Living Wills

A living will is more properly known as an “Advance Decision”. It allows an individual with full mental capacity to make decisions about their future medical treatment. It will be used only if that person subsequently loses the capacity to consent to their own medical treatment or to communicate their wishes.

If you are considering drawing up a living will, it may be helpful to discuss the matter with an appropriate medical professional, such as a GP or community nurse who is aware of your medical history. It is also sensible to inform your family of your decision.

A living will does not need to be in writing unless it specifically excludes life-sustaining treatment. However, it is more practical to put it in writing and to ensure a copy is included with your medical notes.

Using a living will to exclude potentially life-sustaining treatment requires the document to be signed, witnessed and dated. It should also include the words: “even if life is at risk as a result”.

You may also wish to consider recording an Advance Statement. Unlike an Advance Decision, an Advance Statement is not legally binding. It is used to record your likes and dislikes. What you include is very much up to you but you might wish to consider matters such as: whether you want to be cared for in a hospital, care home or at home; any dietary requirements; religious beliefs; who you would like to visit you; and who you would like to be consulted on your care. Although an Advance Statement does not need to be in writing, it is more practical if it is recorded in this way. It is also sensible to ensure your doctor and next of kin have copies.

An Advance Decision and an Advance Statement may be made separately or they may be linked.

To some extent, it is possible to organise matters yourself but a solicitor experienced in the area may help you clarify your wishes and express them clearly.

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney allows an individual to appoint one or more other people to make decisions on their behalf once that individual is no longer able to make their own decisions or no longer wants to do so. There are several different types of Powers of Attorney.

An Ordinary Power of Attorney is suitable for someone who needs cover for a temporary period of time, perhaps for the duration of a hospital stay. It covers decisions about financial affairs and remains valid for as long as the individual that it covers has mental capacity.

A Lasting Power of Attorney comes into effect if the individual loses mental capacity or no longer wants to make their own decisions. It can cover decisions about financial affairs, or health and personal care, or both. If you choose to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney you can limit the power you give to your attorney. Lasting Powers of Attorney must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian. They must also use a prescribed form of wording. It may be best to ask a solicitor experienced in this type of work for help with drawing up a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Enduring powers of attorney were replaced by Lasting Powers of Attorney in October 2007. However, Enduring Powers of Attorney that were made and signed prior to 1 October 2007 remain valid.

The post Living Wills and Powers of Attorney appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

Source: Main home business mag

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