You may encounter situations when planning and dealing with your personal welfare and health matters will be difficult if you are unable to make decisions due to lack of mental capacity. People of any age can lose their mental capacity -temporarily or permanently- because of an accident or illness for instance, and by making a Lasting Power of Attorney you ensure that the person you choose (your attorney) will be helping you if and when required. Having appointed an attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney will also prevent potential family disputes as to whom should deal with your health affairs and what decisions shall be made if you lack mental capacity.
Decisions your attorneys will be involved with include for instance choosing what medical treatment you receive, where you should live, what routine exercises you should have, etc.
If you cannot make decisions about your health and personal care due to lack of capacity - although they would normally consult with your family, your doctor will have the final say regarding the medical treatment you should receive, including life sustaining treatment. If your family disagrees with your doctor’s decision they will be required to make an application to the Court to apply for deputyship which may not be necessarily the most appropriate way to deal with the issues involved.
If you lose mental capacity and have not made a Lasting Power of Attorney for health matters, your family or next of kin will not be able to deal with your l affairs straight away. They will be required to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to deal with your affairs, which is a lengthier and more onerous process than making a Lasting Power of Attorney.