I’ve got a Lasting Power of Attorney. Do I Need a Living Will Too?

Before we look at the question of whether you need a Living Will as well as a Lasting Power of Attorney, let’s have a look at what characterises the two things.

A Living Will, or Advanced Decision, let’s you say no to certain medical treatment, should you, at some future point, not be able to decide for yourself.

On the other hand, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for health and welfare has a wider remit. It appoints attorneys to act for you to make decisions about your care, your personal welfare and also medical decisions.

Living Wills

A living will, the Age UK website tell us, is also known as an advance decision. It’s a legally binding document that allows you to choose and explain what medical treatments you don’t want in the future. It allows you to refuse specified medical treatments should the time come that you can’t make such decisions for yourself.

For example, you might want to refuse to have surgery, a blood transfusion or resuscitation.

NOTE THOUGH: there are some care levels that you can’t refuse. You can’t refuse basic care designed to keep you comfortable. You also can’t ask for anything that’s would break the law – such as euthanasia or assistance in taking your own life. Nor can you insist on a specified medical treatment. Your medical practitioners will make the decisions on what treatment you’re offered.

Lasting Power of Attorney

I have detailed information on my Swindon Will Writing website about Lasting Power of Attorney. But in a nutshell, an LPA appoints someone who will make decisions for you, in the future, should you ever become unable to do it for yourself.

There are two main kinds of LPA:


Health and wellbeing

The health and wellbeing LPA enables your attorney to decide on such issues as:

  • Where you’ll live
  • What you do on a day-to-day basis. And that includes your diet and your medical care and treatment.

So – which to choose – Living Will or Lasting Power of Attorney?

It’s quite possible and acceptable to have both of these things in place. But it’s important that you are clear on what powers each of these two documents give you. And further – which of them will take precedence.

A Living Will will state your personal preferences apropos refusal of medical treatment. Whereas, with the LPA, your attorney makes those decisions on your behalf. Though of course, you’ll have had the chance to let them know what your wishes are, when you have your LPA drawn up.

In the event of there being both a Living Will and LPA drawn up, it’s ideal that you ensure you’ve not made any conflicting requests.

Before you do anything

Should you be considering putting a Living Will in place it’s a good idea to speak to your Dr and medical team, if applicable, about the issues on your mind. They’ll be able to explain any likely consequences of the decisions you’re thinking of making.

Then, if at all possible, speak to your loved ones about your plans. Such communication will help them to deal with the situation. Further, it can stop them feeling forced to challenge a decision that’s being made for you, in the future.

And if you want to talk any of this through with me, I have a webform here. Or of course you can email me on: info@swindonwillwriting.co.uk

I’m also callable on: 07538 946839


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