Three true stories where health & welfare LPAs were critically important

It’s always strange how things go in circles. In the past 10 days I have seen 3 sets of clients who had made LPAs for property & finance, but not for health & welfare.

The various reasons were, ” we are happy to let the doctors make that decision”, and ” we didn’t think we needed one”, and “my spouse knows what to do”.

The reality is, each of those reasons is problematic. I would ask, why are you happy to let the medical professionals make all those decisions? Maybe your spouse DOES know what to do, but are they actually ABLE to act? And why do you think that you do not need one?

I want to share 3 true stories where health & welfare LPAs were critical.

1) In January 2017 was the story of PC Briggs. Some 18 months earlier he had been involved in a road accident on his way to work. He was left in a minimally conscious state. He was kept alive only by medical intervention. His wife, Lindsey, applied to the Court of Protection to have his treatment stopped, an application the doctors opposed. The judge DID agree to cease treatment and some weeks later, he died. Is it right that a WIFE had to go to court in order to adhere to her husband’s previously stated wishes? Had Lindsey had an LPA for health & welfare, she’d have been able to make the decision swiftly, on behalf of her husband, and without resorting to the courts.

2) In 2020 Ylenia Angeli, a former nurse who was 73 at the time, was arrested after she took “drastic action” to remove her 97 year old mother from a care home after being unhappy with her care. The mother was returned to the care home and the police force said it was their “legal duty” to return the mother to the home. The BBC report states that the granddaughter had said that the family, “….only had power of attorney over her grandmother’s finances but not her health and wellbeing”. This story mirrors a similar one involving 89 year old Betty Figg from 2009, where police had threatened to smash the door down of her daughter, with a battering ram, if the daughter Rosalind, did not hand her mother over.

3) Several years ago, I was on a training course, and one of the delegates regaled us all with a story about one of her own clients. The mother was in a coma, and the doctors wanted to switch off life support. The daughter who, in this case, DID have a health & welfare LPA, overrode the doctors’ wishes and kept her mum alive, believing that she would recover. And in this case, she did. Fully. So without the LPA the daughter would have been legally unable to intervene meaning her mother would have died.

I hope these three true cases highlight the absolute imperative for having not only property & finance LPAs in place, but health and welfare ones too.

At Prior Knowledge we have been advising on all LPAs (and Wills, and Trusts, and Estate Planning) for over 20 years. Please contact us for your free consultation, daytime or evening, in Essex or North Yorkshire, in the comfort of your own home.