It is important to consider what will happen to you when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. This is particularly relevant regarding decisions about your health, care and welfare as there is no guarantee that your wishes and those of your family will be followed if you have not prepared in advance. There are several things you can do to make sure you (and your family) remain in control of your health, care and welfare decisions when you no longer have capacity. By preparing for the future now, you can:
- Ensure that your wishes are followed.
- You can set out your wishes to family members and health care professionals. This is especially important if you have strong views about something such as a specific medical treatment.
- Choose who you want to make decisions on your behalf and specify what decisions they can make.
- You can choose who you would like to make health and care decisions for you in the future. This could be family, a trusted friend or professionals, i.e. a solicitor. You can give specific instructions, restrict what they can do and tell them your preferences.
- Make it easier for your family to be able to make decisions on your behalf.
- You can give greater power over decisions than simply being next of kin. Your next of kin should be consulted about any health, care or welfare decisions but without formal documentation in place the final decision is that of the professional.
- Avoid the need for your family to go to court to be able to make decisions.
- Your family may need to apply to the court for the power to make decisions on your behalf or to challenge a decision that they believe it is not in line with your wishes. This is likely to be time consuming and expensive and can be avoided by preparing the necessary documents in advance.
The key point to remember is you have the opportunity to make decisions now about what will happen to your health, care and welfare when you can no longer make those decisions for yourself.
If you have any questions or would like any more information on the issues discussed, please contact a member of our Wealth Management team on 01482 324591.