In October 2018, the Court of Protection finalised its ruling on wording contained in Lasting Power of Attorney documents which expressed instructions to attorneys regarding assisted dying.
Although it would be unlawful for an Attorney to become involved in an assisted dying arrangement (which is not the same as withdrawing life sustaining treatment), the Court considered whether the wording should be left in the documents on the basis that there may be a future change in the law relating to assisted dying and euthanasia, as this is currently the subject of wide public debate.
The possibility of a future change in the law was disregarded and the court ruled that the wording should be severed (removed) from the document. They decided that as such acts would currently be unlawful and a change in the law is impossible to predict, allowing the wording to remain in the document would lead to “uncertainty and confusion”.
The growing number of DIY LPA’s made though the Office of the Public Guardian’s online platform is concerning. Creating an LPA is clearly a sensible choice but should not be undertaken lightly. These cases highlight the importance of seeking professional advice to enable understanding of the full power and scope of the documents. While not everyone will need to seek help from a solicitor, for the vast majority of people this remains the most effective, safe and legally robust option for creating an LPA. Without specialist legal advice, there is a real risk that the person creating an LPA does not adequately express their wishes and preferences, leaving them with a document that is not fit for purpose.
If you would like to discuss either Health and Welfare or Property and Finance Lasting Powers of Attorney with one of our Solicitors, please contact our Altrincham office on 0161 6155554, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by dropping in.