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Lasting Power of Attorney (Personal Welfare)

An attorney for personal welfare may make any decision that you could make about your welfare, for example, where you live and with whom, access to your personal information like medical records, deciding what you wear, what you eat and how you spend your day. They will also be able to give and refuse consent to medical treatment according to you best interests. Your attorney(s) will only be able to make those decisions where you lack capacity to make them yourself.

Your attorney(s) cannot make decisions about life-sustaining treatment for you unless you expressly say so in your Lasting Power of Attorney. Life sustaining treatment means any treatment that a doctor considers necessary to sustain your life and will depend upon the circumstances of a particular situation. In the Lasting Power of Attorney, it is necessary to state whether or not your attorney(s) can make such decisions for you.

If you do not say that your attorney(s) can make decisions about life-sustaining treatment, the doctor in charge of your treatment will make the decision in your best interests. Where practicable and appropriate, the doctor will take into account the views of your attorney(s) and other people interested in your welfare as part of best interests test. This is what happens in all cases where there is nobody authorised to take decisions on your behalf. However, if you have a separate advance directive or living will, that should be followed by the doctor.