Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney
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Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney

Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney

Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney are legal documents that allow you to appoint someone to make medical and healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make those decisions yourself. These documents are an essential part of an estate plan and provide guidance for medical treatment and care during times of incapacity. 

Here's some information about Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney:

  1. Purpose: A Health and Welfare Power of Attorney gives someone you trust (referred to as your agent or attorney-in-fact) the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. This could be due to physical or mental incapacity, such as being in a coma, suffering from dementia, or being unconscious.
  2. Decision-making authority: The document typically grants your agent the authority to make decisions about medical treatments, procedures, surgeries, medication, end-of-life care, and other healthcare matters. The specific powers can be tailored to your preferences and can be as broad or limited as you wish.
  3. Agent selection: Choosing the right person as your agent is crucial. Select someone you trust implicitly, who understands your values and wishes regarding healthcare, and who is willing to fulfill the responsibilities of the role. It's essential to have open and honest conversations with your chosen agent about your healthcare preferences.
  4. Advance healthcare directives: Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney are often part of a comprehensive set of advance healthcare directives, which may include a living will and a medical directive. These documents allow you to express your wishes regarding specific medical treatments, life-sustaining measures, and end-of-life care. They work in conjunction with the Health and Welfare Power of Attorney, providing guidance to your agent about your healthcare preferences.
  5. Legal requirements: Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney are legal documents that must comply with the laws of your jurisdiction. Requirements for execution and witnessing may vary, so it's advisable to consult with an attorney experienced in estate planning and healthcare law to ensure your document is valid and enforceable.
  6. Durability: It's common for Health and Welfare Powers of Attorney to be durable, meaning they remain in effect even if you become incapacitated. This durability ensures that your agent can act on your behalf when it matters most. However, you can include specific provisions for when the document should come into effect or terminate.
  7. Regular review and updates: It's important to review and update your Health and Welfare Power of Attorney periodically, especially if there are changes in your health, personal circumstances, or relationships. Ensure that your agent is still willing and able to fulfill the role, and make any necessary revisions to reflect your current wishes.
  8. Complementing healthcare providers' consent: It's important to note that a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney does not override the decisions of healthcare providers who are legally obligated to obtain consent for treatments. However, the document provides a designated person to represent your interests and make decisions on your behalf when you cannot do so.

Consulting with an estate planning attorney or healthcare professional can provide you with specific guidance and help you create a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney that aligns with your wishes and legal requirements.

A power of attorney is a document that allows you to appoint another person to help you in a certain way. It empowers the person and gives them legal status on your behalf. In England, there are three different types of power of attorney, general, durable for money and durable for health and welfare.


In short, the General Power of Attorney is for people who retain the right to think, which means that you still have the right to think about yourself, but cannot through other means, such as traveling abroad or staying in hospital for a long time. The General Power of Attorney can give someone else the right to manage your money when you are unable, or to manage your business, it is a flexible document and can be drafted to cover many activities.


A power of attorney should be used continuously, whether for money or for health and welfare, when you lose your mental capacity, whether due to stress, accident or injury. . It allows your chosen attorneys to manage your affairs for you when you are no longer able to make decisions.


This topic will focus on sustainable energy for health and well-being.

In a Nutshell

This document is different to the financial Power, as it focuses on the wellbeing of the donor, the person who made the Power. There is a great deal of responsibility for the nominated attorney, so you must make sure that you nominate someone you trust and who is able to make these kinds of decisions on your behalf.

What Decisions can the Attorney Make

The nominated attorney will make very personal decisions regarding your care and wellbeing, including but not limited to: -

  • Your daily routine, such as washing, dressing and eating
  • Your medical care
  • Where you might live if it becomes necessary for you to move out of your home

They will also be able to approach the person you have nominated to take care of your finances (unless they are the same person) and ask for funds to maintain or improve your current quality of life. They are permitted to spend money in this manner provided it is for your benefit. Examples of what they can purchase include but are not limited to: -

  • New clothes for you
  • Self-care for you, such as hairdressing, or spa treatments
  • Decorating or improving your home or room in a care home
  • Additional support, such as carers to help you improve your lifestyle and go out more, for example to visit friends or relatives or to go on holiday

Decisions Regarding Hospital Treatment

They might (it is up to you) also have power to make decisions regarding hospital treatment. This can include requesting certain treatments or refusing other treatments. However, not all attorneys will have this level of power, it is up to you, the donor, to state if you wish them to have the power to make these decisions.

You do not have to give your attorneys this level of responsibility, you could draft a living will that expresses your wishes as an alternative.

A Living Will

A Living Will is a legal statement from you, the donor, regarding which medical treatments you either want or don't want.

Restrictions on What Attorneys Can and Cannot Do

Making a continuing power of attorney for health and welfare can be a stressful experience, and it can be stressful to give someone else notice of your affairs.


However, rest assured that attorneys cannot simply take their mandate and run with it, there are restrictions on what they can and cannot do. These obstacles come from two places, the security court and you.


The Court of Protection is here to prevent lawyers from taking advantage of vulnerable people. They control the lawyers and take action if someone acts in a way that hurts the donor or is not in their best interest.


You have the right to block your attorneys through a durable power of attorney. You can list what kind of fees you want the lawyers to have or not have, as the case may be. For example, if you want your lawyers to be able to make decisions for you about clothing and day-to-day care, but not where you live, you can include that in the document and the lawyers won't talk about where you live. . live if you have to leave your current place of residence. You can also give advice on how you want decisions to be made on your behalf. If you have appointed more than one lawyer, you can have them act together, when they must all agree, or at the same time, when they can make decisions individually. Or you can impose a restriction stating that they can make decisions individually about something, but they must all agree with others. An example is, 


Bob and Margaret are their mother Janet's lawyers. Bob lives with Janet and makes many decisions such as what Janet will wear and what they will eat that day. Bob is going on a business trip for a few weeks and Janet will be going to the hospital for respite care while Bob is away. Under the power of attorney drafted by Janet, Bob and Margaret must agree that the hospital will be the best for Janet. Bob cannot make this decision alone. 



Health and wellness is important and allows you to choose people you trust to help care for you if you need them. They are only used when mental capacity is lost and allow lawyers to make decisions about the physical and mental well-being of the donor. There are many restrictions on how these lawyers can act, some apply and apply to the court of protection, others can apply to the donor.

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